Friday, June 28, 2013
Worried about landing aging C's? Don't be
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
If any Nets fans are on the fence about the pending deal with Boston, they shouldn't be. Sure, Brooklyn mortgaged a bit of its future for what might only be one season of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce combo, but if this year plays out like the 2007-08 campaign here in Boston, it'll be well worth it.
Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett form a formidable frontcourt.
Let's start with Garnett, who changed the culture in Boston from the moment he arrived. Even at age 37, Garnett immediately makes the Nets a dominant defensive team -- and having former Celtics defensive coordinator Lawrence Frank on Jason Kidd's staff to install Boston's help defense philosophies will help, too. Garnett will hold everyone on the team accountable and ought to thrive with someone like Brook Lopez beside him.
During the playoffs this year, Garnett rebounded like he had turned back the clocks a decade. His presence instantly gives the Nets an honest-to-goodness chance to emerge from the East.
As for Pierce, he clearly had a dismal postseason against the Knicks, but don't let that cloud what he meant to Boston during the regular season, single-handedly carrying the team at times when both Rajon Rondo and Garnett were sidelined with injuries.
Pierce, 35, thrives on what he calls "giving the game what it needs," and he'll morph into whatever the Nets need. And he'll always be a professional scorer. (Just one word of advice for Kidd: Avoid the late-game right-elbow ISO).
Most importantly, without having to be Options A and B like they were in Boston even last season, Garnett and Pierce should thrive with the talent around them.
Jason Terry is a bit of a wild card. He wasn't as bad as it seemed last season (but he was pretty atrocious). At 35, you worry that Terry's legs might be going (the death knell for any shooter). But Terry had minor knee surgery recently, and there's hope that that alleviates any discomfort he played with last season. Terry also has a championship pedigree and ought to be a great locker room presence.
Boston pulled Terry into the starting lineup at times due to injuries last season, and he never seemed to get comfortable. A diminished bench role could allow him to thrive again.
The Nets should be pretty good for the foreseeable future. Three guys with rings are a nice return for what could be three late first-round picks -- and, hey, if nothing else, Boston took Gerald Wallace's contract off Brooklyn's hands. There's a lot to like in this deal for the Nets, and you'll especially appreciate what they got when the playoffs roll around.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.