Friday, June 28, 2013
Van Gundy: Nets have top starting 5 in NBA
By Ian Begley
ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy gave Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov major credit for shelling out the money to bring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
In an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show," Van Gundy said Prokhorov and the Nets have put together the best starting five in the NBA. Pierce, Garnett, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson will start for Brooklyn in 2013-14.
"I do think they're a championship-caliber team," Van Gundy said. "If they play well and remain healthy, which is always a challenge for an older team, I think they have the best starting-unit talent in basketball."
The Nets will have to pay a hefty luxury tax to afford all of the multimillion-dollar contracts. Van Gundy believes fans should credit the outspoken Prokhorov for his willingness to spend.
"In this case, the Nets ownership put personnel of their team way ahead of profits and if you're a fan you have to understand how rare that is and you have to be excited about the opportunity," Van Gundy said. "Now whether it turns out to be this championship run or not, you have to be excited about an ownership that will put the personnel of your team ahead of the profits for that same team."
Van Gundy believes Garnett, 37, has at least two good seasons left.
"Last year he played very effective basketball," Van Gundy said. "He's certainly better than what they had by a long shot. And he brings a different edge and a different seriousness for every team he's ever touched. People rave about what he did for a loose Celtics locker room. Immediately upon his arrival, he turned it into a serious locker room. That wasn't Paul Pierce and that wasn't Ray Allen; it was Kevin Garnett.
"I think he has two effective years left. And I hope for his sake, because he's been such a credit to the game, that it's a great experience for him there."