Brooklyn Nets: 10 Bold Predictions for Team's First Season in New York
Perhaps a nice, new arena and some new faces could be the difference makers for a franchise that has been in a definite funk since their near misses at NBA titles in 2002 and 2003.
That being said, let's take a look at 10 bold predictions for the Brooklyn Nets in the upcoming 2012-2013 NBA season.
10. Brook Lopez Will Return to Form
The seven-footer from Stanford spent most of last season in a suit after suffering a broken foot early in the season which was followed by an ankle injury shortly after his return to action.
From what we have seen from Lopez, he is a solid center who can score efficiently in the post and could become an All-Star caliber player if he continues to develop.
With the right amount of time and rehab, Lopez could come back strong for the Nets next year who could really use some presence down low.
The Nets are pretty shallow on big men and I'm sure they would welcome Lopez back (restricted free agent this summer) so that they would be able to keep Johan Petro in his proper place on the bench.
9. The New Jerseys Will Look Awesome
I know this isn't necessarily basketball related, but I think there is some truth in the "look good, play good" saying.
This team has been in desperate need of a makeover in terms of players on the court as well as what those players are wearing.
Since they have successfully escaped the dreariness of New Jersey, there should be some sleek new uniforms waiting for them. Part-owner of the Nets Jay-Z has already had a hand in designing the new logo, and should have a say in what the jerseys look like for the inaugural season.
Maybe a new look is what this team needs to propel them back to winning ways.
8. Gerald Green Will Anchor the Bench
We certainly saw that Green still has some gas in the tank after becoming a journeyman and bouncing around from team to team.
The Nets signed Green to a 10-day contract and he had some great play during that stretch and earned a contract for the rest of the season. Should the Nets bring him back, he could be the fire off of the bench to help lead the second unit.
Green is a versatile scoring swingman known for flashy dunks but he could be a solid bench player for the Nets who will be looking for scoring when the starters are not playing.
With some help from Jordan Farmar and Jordan Williams, the Nets bench could become a respectable contributor to their offense.
7. Kris Humphries Will Become an Above-Average Player
The Ex-Kardashian will finally be old news come next year and may finally be able to focus on basketball after a season spent in the spotlight and at the receiving end of countless jokes.
All that aside, Humphries is a solid power forward who has given the Nets a lot of help on the rebounding end and could become even better if he is given an extension.
He put up a nice 13.8 points per game to go with 11 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest. Brooklyn could really use someone to play alongside Lopez, who is not exactly a good rebounder, and help him patrol the paint.
6. The Nets Will Keep Their First-Round Pick
The trade Brooklyn made with Portland to bring Gerald Wallace could cost the Nets their high first-round selection in a draft loaded with talent. However, the Nets could salvage the pick so long as the ping pong balls bounce their way in the draft lottery and they are given a pick in the top three.
This is a crucial juncture for the Nets who will need some young fresh talent if they want to entice Deron Williams into staying long-term.
It's out of the hands of Brooklyn so they can only hope that lady luck will smile on them in their new city and they could get away with a new young prospect and Gerald Wallace all in one fell swoop.
5. Marshon Brooks Will Average 20 Points Per Game
In the NBA draft last summer, the Nets made a trade with Boston in the first round to acquire Marshon Brooks, a young scoring talent from Providence.
This looked to be a smart move since Brooks has shown he can score in the pros by averaging 12.6 points per game in his rookie campaign. He should be able to earn the starting job in Brooklyn and his averages may be due for an increase, especially in the case that Deron Williams doesn't return and thus the team will look for him to produce.
The lack of scoring punch on the Nets, combined with playing time and pure talent could be the right mixture for Brooks who could become a special scorer in the NBA in the coming years.
4. There Will Be at Least 10 Home Sellouts
New Jersey certainly didn't make it look like they wanted to keep the Nets last season with the lowest average attendance in the NBA (13,961).
Even the lowly Charlotte Bobcats who finished the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history had nearly a thousand more fans at every home game (14,757).
However, a brand new arena along with all of the hype surrounding the team is sure to attract some fans new and old to see the Nets in action.
This predicted number of 10 could go even higher if the Nets are able to assemble a decent team that wins a few games.
3. Gerald Wallace Will Be Worth a Contract Extension
Wallace has had a solid career and has proven himself as an energetic force on the court with no real regard for his own bodily harm.
He could be a really nice piece to have on the team to play with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez and if he accepts a player option this offseason, he'll likely be around at least a few more seasons.
Wallace is turning 30 this summer and has plenty of mileage on him, but he is still a good core player to have on a team who still produces great defense and a nice scoring touch.
The Nets should definitely consider keeping him long term, especially if they end up losing both Deron Williams and their first round pick in the 2012 draft.
2. The Nets Will Make the Playoffs
This is an especially bold call for a team that doesn't even know exactly who will be in uniform for them next season.
However, I think that if the Nets and GM Billy King make smart moves in the offseason and catch a break in the draft, this is a legitimate team in the Eastern Conference which seems to be growing weaker and weaker.
If Deron Williams is retained and put in a lineup with Brooks, Wallace, Humphries, and Lopez, you have a playoff team in the making as long as they stay healthy and have some help behind them on the bench.
1. Deron Williams Will Be in a Nets Uniform
Wishful thinking? Maybe so.
Deron Williams will definitely be the hottest commodity on the free-agent market this summer and the Nets won't be the only team looking to add the elite point guard to their roster.
Like the aforementioned playoff prediction, this prediction relies heavily on what the Nets do to the rest of the roster and how they spend their money. Williams wants to play for a winner and he could definitely find a job with one next year so Brooklyn will have to make some serious strides towards getting better to let him know that they are moving forward.
Nets owner/mixed martial artist Mikhail Prokhorov has made his intentions clear about D-Will which means Williams will certainly be the top priority for Brooklyn come summertime.