Friday, May 17, 2013
Three reasons to be pessimistic about Nets
By Mike Mazzeo
On Wednesday, we gave you three reasons why Brooklyn Nets fans should be optimistic heading into the 2013-14 season.
Today, we'll give you three reasons why Nets fans should be pessimistic heading into next year.
1. LeBron: Normally, we’d start with the Nets. But that would be unfair to the man who has dominated them for years. LeBron James currently owns a 17-game winning streak against the New Jersey/Brooklyn franchise. You’d have to go back to March 12, 2008, to find the last time the Nets beat James -- and he had 42 points in that game. If the Nets want to get through the East, they’re very likely going to have to get through the Heat -- who may very well repeat as champions -- and that’s not going to be easy.
2. Their core is good, but ...: OK, so now, the Nets themselves. GM Billy King did a nice job building a playoff team, a team that is very much relevant in this city. But is the core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace enough? It wasn’t enough to get out of the first round last season -- even if it was their first season playing together. D-Will (28 going on 29), Iso Joe (31 going on 32) and Crash (30 going on 31) all have a lot to prove when it comes to health and consistency.
3. Limited flexibility to improve: Expanding on the above, the Nets are currently well over the salary cap and don’t have much flexibility to improve their roster, a roster that might only have a 50-win, second-round-and-out ceiling. This is where King is going to earn his money: trying to find gems like Andray Blatche despite having limited financial resources. The Nets GM also has Kris Humphries’ $12 million expiring contract at his disposal if he wants to make a trade to upgrade the roster. King built a solid core. But he has to supplement it with better surrounding pieces.