The Brooklyn Nets have transformed almost overnight from a 22-win team in 2012 to a playoff contender on paper in 2013.
If, eventually, Howard ends up in a Brooklyn uniform, does that guarantee the Nets a championship?
I don't believe so.
A lineup that features Howard, Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson will certainly be among the handful of title contenders every year, but there are factors that bringing Howard aboard won't solve.
First and most importantly, the Nets will be a very thin team, basically running their four stars out there every night and that's it. It won't get much better in the future, either, as the Nets won't have the money to add the necessary pieces.
They won't have success building through the draft, either, as they ultimately will end up shipping a boatload of picks to the Orlando Magic to acquire Howard.
They could bank on players coming to Brooklyn and taking less money to win a ring, but that's a risky strategy. It's one thing to join LeBron James in Miami to win a ring, but it's something different altogether to join Dwight Howard in Brooklyn.
Then there's the fact that they won't be the only loaded team.
Miami and Oklahoma City are still going to be the favorites. Now add the Lakers to that mix with Steve Nash.
Speaking of competition, with Howard, the Nets will have a very good four players, not a great four players—and none come with a track record of winning or performing well in the clutch.
Williams made it to the Western Conference finals once with Utah, and Howard made the NBA Finals once with Orlando. But Johnson never made it past the second round with the Hawks, and Wallace has no playoff success.
Howard could be a guy that could lead the Nets to a title, but I wouldn't count on his leadership abilities. Plus, he's a guy who's never getting the ball with the game on the line. That and his free-throw shooting alone make him a liability at times late in games.
If I were to bet on one guy winning a championship, it would have to be Williams, which is why I give this Nets team a chance to win it all.
But it's not a great chance, even with Howard.
There's too much competition, and the Nets won't be able to add the necessary parts quick enough.
In the next five years, I would give the Nets a chance to win one ring. While that's not great, it's still better odds than most NBA franchises.
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