Commentary

Nets' 2011-12 midseason report card

On the bright side, at least the New Jersey nightmare is nearly over

Updated: February 24, 2012, 10:45 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Click here for the Nets' midseason awards »

Call it a "process." Call it a "Dwightmare." Call it "the end of an error." Call it whatever you want. The point is, the Nets' final season in New Jersey has been an utter disaster.

Decimated by injuries, a lack of continuity and a flawed roster, the Nets have struggled mightily in the first half of the season, and enter the All-Star break with a 10-25 record -- third-worst in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn is the Nets' destination next season, but the future remains uncertain. Will Deron Williams stay? Will Dwight Howard end up with the Nets via trade or free agency?

For now, coach Avery Johnson isn't concerned. Most nights he doesn't even know who he's going to start. Consider: The Nets have used 17 different starting lineups this season -- more than any other team in the NBA. Also consider: The Nets have been plagued by poor starts all season, and are 4-19 when trailing after the first quarter. Oh, and they've struggled to a 3-13 record at the Prudential Center.

Now on to the grades.

Note: Since the Nets have started 14 different players, I elected to use a starting lineup of Deron Williams, MarShon Brooks, DeShawn Stevenson, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez -- the likely starting five for the team heading into the second half.


Nets' midseason awards

MVP: D-Will. The Nets' only superstar has performed like one of late.

Defensive MVP: This team can't defend. No one is worthy of being bestowed this honor.

Biggest surprise: Brooks' unwavering confidence and Farmar's improvement from last season.

Biggest disappointment: Shawne Williams. He was brought in to hit the corner 3. He couldn't. And then he went down with a season-ending broken left foot injury. Okur comes in a close second.

Best coaching move: Johnson running just three offensive plays against the Knicks on Monday night: get the ball to Deron, get the ball to Deron and get the ball to Deron.

Worst coaching move: Not spending every second coaching defense. The Nets are allowing their opponents to shoot 48.1 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from 3-point range.

Best offseason acquisition: Brooks.

Worst offseason acquisition: Shawne Williams, who has a player option for next season.

Biggest concern: Injuries and D-Will's future.

Key to the second half: Staying healthy. And if they're lucky, landing Howard, even if it comes at the unfortunate expense of losing some -- if not all -- of their assets. Waiting would be the better option, but if King has a chance, he has to pull the trigger.

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