Wikipedia defines schadenfreude as "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. This word is taken from German and literally means "harm-joy". It is the feeling of joy or pleasure when one sees another fail or suffer misfortune."
Yup, that's pretty much how we feel about the Brooklyn Nets right now.
Don't get me wrong, I kinda feel bad for the players, coaches, and fans of the Nets. I don't actually wish any ill will upon them. That said, the players and coaches are all millionaires and fans have to suffer with bad teams sometimes. Besides, this is just sports after all. In short, they'll live.
As for me and my rooting interests, I'm absolutely giddy about the sad state of affairs in the Barclays Center these days. The Nets have started off the season winless through 6 games and it isn't clear when they'll get their first win of the year.
The Nets were favored to win Friday's game, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index. They are not favored to win by BPI again until Dec. 10 against the Philadelphia 76ers, a span of 15 games. BPI projects Brooklyn to finish with somewhere between 21 and 22 wins, which is expected to be the second-worst record in the NBA behind the 76ers. This would be good news for Nets fans if they owned their first-round draft pick, but they do not.
Last night I turned on the last few minutes of the Nets - Lakers game. It was akin to watching the Weather Channel during a hurricane as waves crash upon the foundation of a house causing it to tumble into the sea. It was a glorious disaster.
No one said this season was going to be easy. But the trickle-down effect from the ill-fated blockbuster trades by general manager Billy King and owner Mikhail Prokhorov for Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce feels worse and worse by the day. The current roster has some decent pieces, but it is lacking in so many key areas -- most notably, point guard play. Hope is nowhere to be found. The Nets are one of three remaining teams without a win -- the 76ers and Pelicans are the others. Seventy-six games remain.
I suppose I should remind you that the Celtics own the unprotected Nets pick this year but I'm pretty sure that all Celtics fans know that at this point. It is worth reminding everyone that we can swap picks with them next year and we have their unprotected pick the year after that as well. So they simply don't have the option of rebuilding through the draft in the traditional way.
There are some in the media that insist that the Nets "need to shoot for the playoffs" because they owe us their pick this year. That's simply not true. They do not have incentive to tank in terms of losing "on purpose." But that's not the same thing. The draft pick is a sunk cost for them now. It is irrelevant to their plans from now on.
Their focus should be to develop the youth that they do have and try to obtain talented players for the future through trades and free agency. Free agents aren't going to be overly motivated to sign in Brooklyn when so many teams are going to have cap room this offseason. But those are the only options available to them.
They might be able to trade some of their current players for other teams' draft picks, but I'm not sure if anyone what kind of value they could get for their older players. Everything depends on how well Billy King can steer the franchise going forward (probably not the most comforting thought for Nets fans). Of course, the team might also be sold, in which case a new regime could be brought in to start from scratch. All good things for the value of those future draft picks the Celtics are owed.
All of this is theory at the moment though. How will this tangibly help the Celtics going forward? Obviously if the Nets end up with the worst record in the league this year, we'll have the highest probability of landing the top pick. Even if we don't land the top pick, the chances of getting a top 3 pick are very high. So we should start scouting guys like Ben Simmons, Skal Labissiere, and Brandon Ingram. (That's your cue Kevin O'Connor)
The other way this could help us is through a potential trade. I can't fathom a situation where Ainge would give up this year's Nets pick for anyone outside of a superstar, but the future picks might be available for the right return. But that's another article for another time.
I should also point out that we've got protected picks owed to us from the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves too. If the season ended today we'd get both (assuming that neither one won the lottery).
Ainge crazy pic.twitter.com/FOJOkNZ7X4— Tankathon.com (@tankathon) November 7, 2015
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the Wolves will wind up within the bottom 12 teams, so that pick is still not terribly likely to be conveyed to us. If that's the case, it will turn into 2 second rounders (2016 and 2017). The Mavs pick is seemingly much more likely. That pick is conveyed as long as they are not one of the bottom 7 teams. There's too much talent on that team for them to contend with the worst-of-the-worst. Yet they don't seem to be good enough to be a playoff team. So that puts them right in the sweet spot of landing the Celtics a pick in the 8 to 13 range.
Finally there is the Celtics own pick. I'm still hoping for the playoffs but if they miss out on the postseason, having another lottery pick is at least a consolation prize.
So the Celtics should have another pile of draft picks to use this season including several in the lottery range. It will be very important to get those picks right or to use them wisely in trades. The common refrain about this team (that I happen to believe) is that we need a few stars. Every time the Brooklyn Nets lose, that seems like one small step towards adding one of those stars.
So keep losing Brooklyn. Your misery is our joy.