The Nets are really struggling so far. They are 2-5 and just got stomped by the Kings who only had one win headed into the game last night. As much as it pains me to see Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett lose games, I can't help but think selfishly about the pick that the Nets owe us this summer.
First of all, we have to remember that there are conditions on the pick tied to how well the Atlanta Hawks do.
Brooklyn will convey the less favorable of its 2014 1st round pick and Atlanta's 2014 1st round pick to Boston (via Atlanta's right to swap for Brooklyn) [Atlanta-Brooklyn, 7/11/2012 and then Boston-Brooklyn, 7/12/2013]
Formerly it was assumed that the Nets would be a lot better than the Hawks, so it wouldn't have any impact. It is still very, very early, but there's at least a small chance that this provision might come into play.
The best case scenario for us pick-wise is if the Nets and Hawks are both lottery teams because we'll get a lottery selection out of it either way. An interesting wrinkle is that the league determines which pick is "better" after the lottery. So if one of these picks wins the lottery and goes into the top 3, that will be considered the "better" pick even if it belonged to the team with the higher win total. Of course, if either team makes the playoffs, then the pick is going to be in the late teens or early 20's.
Granted, there's a cart filled with hopes and dreams that is coasting well ahead of the proverbial horse at this point. The Nets have All Star talent stacked from top to bottom on the roster. They can't be bad for long, can they? Well, maybe all that star talent is part of the problem. Tom Ziller believes that one of the key problems is having enough basketballs to go around.
The effect is that the Nets don't really have Deron Williams or Joe Johnson out there. They have pieces of those players out there. Williams hasn't had this low a usage rate since his second season in the league. Johnson's current usage rate is 17 percent, which is right above a Thabo Sefolosha-type level. J.J. hasn't been that low since his rookie year. Johnson's been pretty efficient so far this season; having played off and on with ball-dominant point guards (Steve Nash, Williams) during his career, he has some off-ball abilities. But Williams is flailing, and it's pretty easy to see why: he's totally uncomfortable in an offense in which he gives the ball to a teammate to create 80 percent of the time.
Almost feels like the Nets have too many guys who can post up, and they are trying to sort those touches out.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 14, 2013
Their coach has exactly zero coaching experience, but he was a Hall of Fame point guard and he's got a good staff of coaches advising him. I still like their chances of figuring this thing out and getting people on the same page.
After all, Kevin Garnett is the most selfless superstar since Bill Russell and Pierce is used to playing with other stars. Williams will get his and JJ will come around (in theory).
Nothing would make me happier than to see the Nets and Hawks (currently 4-4) struggle this season but I'm not sure if that's something that we can bank on. With that said, every loss puts our draft pick in a better position, lottery or not. So feel free to take your time figuring things out Brooklyn.