The Nets Are Terrible
By Paul Sondhi
The start of the NBA season has come and gone, and the Brooklyn Nets are as bad as advertised. They’ve gotten off to a raucous 0–4 record, with double digit losses in three of their four games. No one said it was going to be pretty this year at Barclays Center, and it certainly hasn’t been so far. Though Brooklyn plays in the atrocious Eastern Conference, there is no chance this team competes for a playoff spot like it did last year when it snagged the eighth seed.
A quick look at the depth chart will tell you all you need to know. Deron Williams moved to the Dallas Mavericks after being bought out during the summer and veteran Jarrett Jack is playing the point. Jack is widely considered a strong locker room presence, but nothing more than a decent backup 1 on the court. His production is nothing spectacular, and the Nets seem to be hoping that 23-year-old Shane Larkin, a 2013 first round pick, develops into a serviceable player that may be able to start by the end of the season.
The other starting guard is Joe Johnson, who is playing badly. Through four games, he is averaging nine points on 32.6% shooting. Johnson was never as good as some people made him out to be when he arrived in BK, but if this start is any indication, he may very well be the worst starting shooting guard in the NBA. He’s dropped way off from the former 20 point-per-game heyday in Atlanta. Johnson’s backup, rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, showed some promise in his first two games of the season, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds in 24 minutes of action in his professional debut, and following that up with 10 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes his second game. (Yes, I am grasping at straws.)
There is just nothing pretty about this Nets’ team right now. Sure, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez are decent NBA players, but the rest of the roster resembles the Philadelphia 76ers’: Larkin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Wayne Ellington, Donald Sloan, etc. They even signed Andrea Bargnani this past offseason!
The one player that I have my hopes pinned on is Thomas Robinson. The former Kansas stud was selected fifth overall in 2012 by Sacramento, but, in my estimation, has never gotten a fair shake in the NBA. He’s a bit undersized for his position (power forward), but is a relentless rebounder and, by all accounts, a high-character guy. He showed what he could do on the court when given a chance last season: 8.8 PPG and 7.7 RPG, averaging 18.5 minutes per game in 22 games with the 76ers. So far with the Nets he hasn’t seen much action (just 13.5 minutes per game), but I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t get more of a chance and fails to emerge as a fan favorite.
Things will not change anytime soon for this franchise. Its draft pick status is atrocious because of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade of a few years ago. The Nets owe their 2016 and 2018 picks to the division rival Boston Celtics, and Boston has the opportunity to swap picks with the Nets in 2017. That’s right: the Nets will not get a single benefit out of being bad for the foreseeable future.
I feel for Nets’ fans right now. There are no bright spots. There is no hope. The Nets are going to suck for at least three more years, and probably for another three after that. It just goes to show you: do not give Billy King the keys to your franchise.