After making the much anticipated move into the House that Hova Built, the Nets season played out pretty much like everyone would have predicted. A group of talented, yet ultimately bland guys coasted to the fourth seed in the East, only to get knocked out of the first round of the playoffs despite having the three best players in the series. There was a lot of criticism directed at the Nets last year for perhaps not being the most motivated or intense team in the league.
But this offseason was an exciting one for Brooklyn. No one is going to accuse this team of being gutless this season after the mega trade that brought Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Certified Crazy Person Kevin Garnett to the Nets. They also let go of interim coach PJ Carlesimo, an understandable move after he willingly played 3-on-5 in the playoffs last year as the Bulls completely ignored Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. In his place, the Nets hired the newly retired Jason Kidd to be the team’s head coach.
Why am I excited to watch a lot of Nets games this year? The answer is simple: No team in the league has as many questions surrounding it then Brooklyn. Will they be able to stay healthy? Will Deron Williams and Garnett get along? Will Williams, who is such a stubborn asshole that he forced Jerry Sloan into retirement, get along with a coach who is certain to be hard on his point guard? What kind of a role will Paul Pierce fill on this roster? Do Garnett and Brook Lopez have anything at all in common?
No team has a higher ceiling and lower floor than the Nets. They could finish second in the East, keep Pierce and Garnett fresh for the playoffs by giving extra minutes to Andrei Kirilenko, Andre Blatch and Reggie Evans during the regular season, and become true title contenders when springtime rolls around. But at the same time, this team is really old. They have seven (eight if you count Jerry Stackhouse) players on the roster who are over the age of 30. A couple of injuries, paired with the natural erosion of skills that comes with age, and this team could be a complete mess.
However this Nets season shakes out, I’ll be watching.