Nets Nearing Point Of No Return?




VIDEO: The Beat crew discusses the Nets’ rough start to the season

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Humbling is the weight of great expectations, as the men in black and white in Brooklyn have learned through the first month of this NBA season. It’s a lesson their counterparts in Los Angeles, the Lakers, learned in much the same fashion last season. The addition of star power, remembered, real or imagined, does not always translate.

Brooklyn’s Nets are in essence a complete mess right now. A 3-10 record, next to last in the Eastern Conference standings, wounded bodies, pierced pride and nearing the point of no return is where this crew resides heading into tonight’s matchup (7 p.m. ET, League Pass) with a Toronto Raptors team that currently occupies the top-four spot in the Eastern Conference standings that the Nets assumed was theirs.

Without Deron Williams and Brook Lopez healthy, some would argue that it is unfair to grade this team at this juncture. But there are troubling signs with this team regardless of the personnel being deployed, a point made clear by our very own John Schuhmann recently.

Detroit Pistons v Brooklyn Nets

The Nets have struggled mightily in the season’s opening month.

No disrespect to the men at work, but you know things are dire when Shaun Livingston and Mason Plumlee are the only players on your roster who pose a consistent threat to opposing teams with their athleticism, energy and passion. That collection of aged superstars who were supposed to lead this group have, for whatever reasons, not answered the call on a nightly basis.

Take Sunday’s loss to Detroit for example. To start the fourth quarter, Nets coach Jason Kidd a lineup of Plumlee, Tyshawn Taylor, Alan AndersonToko Shengelia and Mirza Teletovic on the floor against Detroit. They trailed by 12 points, due the inept performance, to that point, of the first six who had dug that hole.

Kidd, and his top assistant Lawrence Frank, were desperate to energize a group that has slumbered through this season since that Nov. 1 win over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat in their home opener.

The idea of Williams, Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Jason Terry terrorizing the league from opening night through the end of the regular season was a pipe dream from the start. But the reality of the Nets’ situation is even more grave than any of their critics might have imagined.

The Nets are last in defensive efficiency, allowing 106.3 points per 100 possessions. With Lopez on the floor they’re much better, ranking sixth defensively, but Lopez has missed five straight games.  And in those five games he’s been out, it’s been a parade for opposing teams. The Nets are allowing 113.1 points per 100 possessions in his absence. Had someone told you the linchpin to the Nets season would be the defensive presence of Lopez, you’d have slapped them.

Yet that is exactly where the team with the worst second-half defensive in the league stands as of right now. And that’s not even factoring in the inevitable locker room fissures that are bound to pop up when a high-profile team encounters these sorts of struggles.

Garnett was supposed to be a culture-changer, the sort of dynamic force that unites a group, even mismatching pieces, into a cohesive unit the way he did in Boston. That obviously hasn’t happened, at least not yet. And there is no guarantee it will. Not with the make-up of this group and the fact that there isn’t someone at the top (in Boston it was coach Doc Rivers) to set the tone and table for a player with Garnett’s reputation and leadership skills to do his thing without any second guessing from within that locker room.

Granted, it would be much easier for others to follow Garnett if Garnett wasn’t struggling through his own Jekyll-and-Hyde routine  — using PIE, Garnett is the league’s fifth-best player in the first half and the league’s worst player in the second half — this season.

Ultimately, the onus for this team and its fortunes rests on the entire group and whether or not they can tread water until they get everyone healthy enough to have a chance to chase the enormous expectations that have been set for them, both internally and beyond.

But we’re getting dangerously close that to that 20-game mark where a team’s true colors show. And the Nets from everything we’ve seen, have not lived up to the hype and quite frankly may not be able to as presently constituted.

35 Comments

  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    The key seems to really be Deron Williams. He needs to get healthy in a hurry. If so, the Nets will climb out of this slump and easily make the playoffs in the weak East.

    Even if Deron struggles, the Nets still may barely make the playoffs in the weak, weak East. Then, they can hope to use their vast experience, which could prove to wind up being a tough out for opposing playoff East teams.

  2. Gillsy says:

    It goes to show with KG, PP and Terry. That with these older guys how good a coach Doc is.

  3. NETS DIVA says:

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, “The reports of their death are greatly exaggerated.”

    And for you Fellowship of the Ring fans:
    “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

    I don’t deny that while the mind and heart may be willing, the body often won’t comply. But these geezer guys that everyone’s rushing to write off have more pride in their little pinkies than a lot of the ” jump out of the gym” super-athletic dudes out there and I know there’s enough gas in the tank for them to compete at a much higher level than what they’ve shown so far. Give them time to heal (injuries) and congeal (chemistry) and let’s see if we got what we thought we’d have.

    I’ll take bets they are….anyone???

  4. clip the KG & Pierce says:

    KG & Pierce should come off the for the Nets and play them only 20 mins each. If this doesn’t work gift wrap them to doc rivers and the clippers for DJ

  5. reyladd says:

    how will they handle the heat, if they dont know how to deal their own line up and there coach as well..

  6. dirtyburg32 says:

    the fact of the matter is the miami heat started 9-8 in 2010 and ended up playing for the championship that year im not a brooklyn fan but the east is so weak they can get a 7 or 8 seed even if they play like trash

  7. shangsolution says:

    play home play over hehe kg gud mah

  8. shangsolution says:

    nice kg

  9. J says:

    I didn’t think the Nets would DOMINATE but I did think that they would do better than this. Half is injury and half is not playing good. Also there bench is not very good.

  10. Kobe Fan says:

    Jason Kidd knows nothing about coaching. Nets Should fire him. Mike Brown was fired after a couple of losses, why not this moron?

  11. jake s. says:

    It takes time for a coach and his team to generate chemistry. I think it was bold making Kidd head coach. Especially because he is the same age as KG lol.

  12. pacquiaoverated says:

    kg is not a great player he is a great talker talking smack that is.

  13. gg says:

    ” using PIE, Garnett is the league’s fifth-best player in the first half and the league’s worst player in the second half — this season.”

    I think this just says it all really. KG is a great player, but he’s old and he runs out of steam in the second half purely due to old age.

  14. johnny dawson says:

    Hi, Sekou, its Johnny from Ensenada. The moral of this story is bad things happen when you try to skate by on the cheap. If their cheapskate owner only spent some REAL MONEY on this team they would have a chance.

  15. rirdanny says:

    now im beginning to believe that erik spoelstra is an excellent coach – making the heat’s star studded roster work.

  16. Brent says:

    Okay so the Nets are 4-10 now.

    They best the Raptors by 2. They beat the Suns by 2 and the Heat by 1. Their only win by more than a single basket was against the worst team in the NBA, (sorry Jazz fans). Still not sold.

  17. Brent says:

    I never believed this team would contend. Granted I didn’t expect they would start 3-10, but nonetheless, they’re lucky to be in the worst division in the NBA. The Atlantic division might be won by a team under .500. So that’s in the Nets’s favor. But I still don’t know if I would bet on them making the playoffs. They just continue digging themselves a hole. Pretty soon that hole will be impossible to climb out of because they won’t be able to win enough games to do so. I know we’re only 16% of the way through the season, but the Nets have lost more than triple the number of games they have won, that’s like a 1-3 NFL team that is about to be 1-4. I don’t like their chances at all.

  18. mike says:

    i bet no body want to face this nets team on first round of the playoffs if they can make it

  19. Michael says:

    Bring back the Little General.

  20. okc2014 says:

    Put them in time out, give them a swift spanking, and sent them to the D-League. Go Hawks! Go Thunder!

  21. Michael S. says:

    I wouldn’t sleep on them though. They’re only challenge is health and chemistry, because they definitely have the talent to play most of the league’s best. I believe they can turn it around, and with a team of veterans like they have, all they need to do is sneak into the playoffs with the 4-6 seed and they can make some noise!

  22. asdfghjkl says:

    KG and PP’s success the last 3 years was because of Rondo and they would’ve won over the Knicks if Rondo never got injured. Dwill is overrated and is bugged with injuries and will never be in the same level as Rondo.

  23. kobeballhog says:

    as i said and i am right again just like i said last year with the lakers, the nets is going to be a joke. garnet talking smack against the best player in the world, pierce saying they the team in new york. with all the money that team is paying. they could just build a team full of dleague players with half of that money and still play better lol. now im also saying for the next 2 years the lakers is going to be a joke. put my words in stone

  24. BlackDove- says:

    Go Knicks

  25. warriors4eva says:

    I hope this team never works out, just cause teams should not be able to pay for a championship like billionaire russian mobster tried to do. There’s too many studs on this team to work out, and with this many stars you need a coach who they can look up to, not a peer like j kidd. He wouldve been a good coach for a young team like the celtics. Why do you think Jay-Z sold his stake? He knew this wasn’t going to work. The nets had a good thing going before – Dwill, johnson and lopez are a solid big 3. Just get some better role players and a year or two together and it wouldve worked.

  26. Hunter says:

    Tough spot to be in.

  27. Roy says:

    This is surprising, I never thought they would start 3-10. Some big injuries and an inexperienced coach are a good reason they’re like this though. They’ll finish above .500 so everyone should calm down for now.

    • Korthy says:

      They might if they get rid of Kidd. He has no idea how to coach. Basketball IQ alone doesn’t make you a great coach. You need the buy in from the players where that can only be achieved if you know how to do that, which he obviously doesn’t. The Kidd has much to learn

  28. LS says:

    Are you kidding me? Except for the Pacers, Miami, and possibly Atlanta (being really generous), NONE of the teams in the East look good. Let up off the Nets. The season just started and if you guys have any integrity, you may be offering a public apology to the Nets organization come mid-season.