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Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: September 23, 12:19 PM ET
No. 54: New Orleans Pelicans

By Morty Ain
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 88
Title track: 75
Ownership: 62
Coaching :116
Players: 94
Fan relations: 61
Affordability: 82
Stadium experience: 36
Bang for the buck: 60

Knickerbocker fans were ready for war when Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov referred to them as NYC's "second team" in the preseason and tabbed James Dolan as "that little man." It was tough talk backed up with a $330 million offseason arms race and a brand spanking new $1 billion monument to weathered steel -- outfitted with free Wi-Fi, a 40/40 club and the signature Oculus, a 360-degree LED marquee circling the outer pavilion. So when the Nets limped out to a 14-14 start, Avery Johnson didn't stand a chance. But 116 in the coaching category? And 94th in the players ranking? What gives?

Going 49-33 and making the playoffs for the first time in six years (the first Brooklyn playoff since Eisenhower was president) might fly in Jersey, but a postseason cameo ain't gonna cut it in this borough. Not when you have Beyonce and the King of New York sitting courtside, or the third-most expensive seats on the secondary market.

And our survey was conducted before it became clear that ownership had been listening to the pleas of BK fans. Last season's Nets (sans Kris Humphries) have since Mighty Morphed with the 2008 All-Star team (complete with J. Kidd starting at head coach) and have thrown in the Jet and Kirilenko for good measure. It appears neither Brooklyn nor Prokhorov is going to stop, until -- as Jay Z said -- they "let the world know that the city is mine."