Many, many rubles paid for the new arena the Nets are playing in. Many, many rubles were spent on the team playing in that stadium. Was it all worth it? Well, the bar by which success will be measured was certainly raised by all those rubles. So in that, there's already a bit of a win.
Well, in most situations, a team coming off three awful seasons of 12-70, 24-58, and 22-44 would just like to make the playoffs. In my opinion, that's not the case here. The Nets made big moves this summer, regarding both their location and roster. They spent over $330 million on player contracts over the summer. With big spending, comes big expectations. The goal for this team has to be to get to the Eastern Conference finals.
So, is the team any good? What are the strengths?
No question, it’s the backcourt of Deron Williams and Johnson. When you consider age and wear-and-tear, the duo has to be considered the best backcourt in the league above the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for the rain of torrential boos. In any case, one of the best points in the league and arguably the second-best shooting guard in the Eastern Conference is a pretty damn good place to start. The overall starting five is big strength, if you ask me! And, I know you haven’t, but anyway…
Ok, how about weaknesses?
Defense. Coach Avery Johnson was known for his defense in Dallas, and he’ll need to dust off the dust from his notes for the Nets to have any success. The Nets were notorious for securing leads until the fourth quarter, then completely exploding due to their lack of defense. Unfortunately, Brook Lopez is a weak 7-foot defender. It’ll be a collaborative effort on the part of the coaching staff and the players to lock in. Their offense is already set, if they can play decent defense the Nets will land in the playoffs, like many project them to.
And the bottom line? You might be surprised by this:
Given my concerns, you may wonder why I have the Nets ahead of the Celtics in the Atlantic. Here's the easiest way to explain it: I trust Brooklyn's ability to be respectable on defense more than I trust Boston to be respectable on offense. Don't forget that for much of 2011-12, Boston looked dead: it even flirted with the No. 9 spot in the East for a while. Better performance down the stretch by the Sixers and Magic would have knocked the C's down in the final standings. I think the Nets are constructed to put that pressure on Boston.
I respectfully disagree.