Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Starting Five: How to clean up $190M mess?
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets are a $190 million mess -- playing "Typical Nets Basketball" on nightly basis. And their players, their coach and their fans are all miserable as a result.
The Nets never seem to outdo themselves, though. Just when you think they've hit rock bottom, there always seems to be more room for them to plummet.
Hours after reassigning assistant Lawrence Frank to a reduced role, Jason Kidd's Nets were blown out yet again, this time by the Denver Nuggets, 111-87, on Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
In their latest debacle, they lacked passion, heart, energy and effort. They were outrebounded (56-37) and outhustled (16-6 in second-chance points). They trailed by as many as 28.
As per usual, the third quarter proved to be their undoing. They were outscored 31-15 in the frame and fell to 0-12 when trailing after three quarters. They were booed throughout the second half. They have lost 11 of their last 14 games.
Luckily, they play in what may turn out to be the worst division ever. Still, following an offseason in which they made splash after splash, it's fair to say that none of their moves have worked.
They may eventually. They just haven't yet. And it's possible they never will.
"We're just not even giving ourselves a chance, and that's the most frustrating thing," said shooting guard Joe Johnson, who led the Nets (5-13) with 22 points.
Center Brook Lopez was upset with his performance and wanted to take the blame for the loss. Lopez scored 10 points in the first quarter and finished with 12. Truth is, it isn't his fault. Not at all.
Lopez faced constant double-teams all night long. And with small forward Paul Pierce, point guard Deron Williams, forward Andrei Kirilenko and guard Jason Terry all out due to injury, the Nets had few offensive options to turn to. So they started misfiring from the perimeter (2-for-16 from 3-point range).
Defensively, they just aren't getting stops. The Nuggets (11-6) shot 50.6 percent and had six different players score in double digits.
The Nets did a lot of talking in the offseason, how they'd be the best team in the city, how they'd compete for a championship. Yet through nearly a quarter of the season, they've yet to win consecutive games. They've been decimated by injury, and those who need to step up as a result, haven't.
All the talking you hear out of them now involves the words "patience" and "process."
And no one wants to hear that. Not now.
"We were trying to figure out how to patch this thing up, how to get this thing together. There's a lot of moving parts to this," power forward Kevin Garnett said. "We can't hang our heads and feel sorry for ourselves because no one in this league is going to feel sorry for us. We need to figure this out soon. I don't think anyone around here is having fun, and losing is definitely not fun."
Something needs to change. But what can change? What is GM Billy King's next move?
The Nets mortgaged their future to win now. It looked good on paper. It just hasn’t translated that way into real life.
Bottom line: it's very likely this team is going to have to turn things around internally.
It may not be what anyone wants to hear. It's just reality.
"I am sure management will do what they feel is best for this team and this organization and every guy has to understand that and that's the business of this," Garnett said. "You have to expect that and you can't think that's not going to happen or that it doesn't exist. That's just reality in the NBA and in sports."
Question: What would you do to fix this team? Can it even be fixed?
In case you missed it: The Nets reassigned Lawrence Frank to a reduced role.
Jason Kidd thinks the Nets and Knicks both stink. Plus, the mystery surrounding Paul Pierce's injury is still just that -- a mystery.
Stat of the night: This is probably going to make some people mad. Regardless, ex-New York Knick Timofey Mozgov -- he of Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade lore -- had 17 points and 20 rebounds against the Nets on Tuesday night in 31 minutes. Yes, it was that bad.
Up next: The Nets practice Wednesday. I'll have you covered.