The new-look Brooklyn Nets take on the defending champion Miami Heat in South Beach tonight and there are sure to be a lot of fireworks. The Nets have marketed their new team as a "Core Four" of guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, forward Gerald Wallace and center Brook Lopez, and the team has gotten off to a 1-1 start thus far.
However, let's be honest. The Nets were a horrible team for the past five years and are suddenly trying to say they're one of the NBA's best. Seeing as how the Heat were a decent squad before LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to join Dwyane Wade, not to mention that they now have won a title together, Brooklyn has zero right to claim a "Big Three," "Core Four," or whatever it is they'll call themselves.
In fact, let's have a look at the Nets' so-called core. Williams is definitely one of the best point guards in the league and has averaged 18.5 points and 11 assists over his first two games. However, as a scoring point guard, his shooting percentage is just 42 percent. This shows that he's a bit over reliant on his jumper, with almost half of his shots coming from long range.
That leads us to Johnson, averaging 16.5 points per game thus far. While the usual shooter is shooting 37 percent from long range, only about a fourth of his field goal attempts are from beyond the arc. As a whole, he is only shooting 41 percent from the floor and in the long run, that's not going to help the Nets.
Now, let's talk about Brook Lopez. He has great size at 7'0" and 265 pounds, and his season averages of 20 points, seven rebounds and 1.5 blocks are decent for a center, although the rebounding could be better.
However, Lopez is shooting just 41 percent from the field and for someone at his position, that is simply unacceptable. Rather than trying to score points all the time, he should be playing defense and using his length to block more shots.
Though he's currently hampered by a sprained ankle, Wallace could be the most effective player in the group. He's averaged 10 points per game on the season, but his real talent is in being a pest to the tune of 1.5 steals per game.
Now take a look at Miami's Big Three. James, Wade and Bosh are all players capable of taking control of a game and just running with it. James and Bosh were stars on their own teams before joining Wade in Miami, so this is truly a superteam.
More importantly, after losing in the NBA Finals in 2011, the Heat managed to win a championship in 2012 on the back of their killer trio. If there's anybody that has bragging rights in tonight's game, it's them.
That all being said, who do the Nets have that gives them the right to claim a "Big Three" status? They have an impulsive shooter in Johnson, a soft center in Lopez and a point guard who drove a Hall of Fame coach to resignation in Williams.
Last I checked, that wasn't the recipe for a championship, and in tonight's game against the defending champion Heat, the Brooklyn Nets are going to learn that the hard way. As much potential as the team has, they have no place placing themselves among the elite yet.
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