2012-13 Win Percentage: 55.9%
Franchise Win Percentage
Last 10 Seasons: 42.9%
Last 5 Seasons: 32.1%
Last 10 Seasons: 4
Last 5 Seasons: 0
The Nets franchise has popularly been a laughing stock for years, but some of this comedic scorn has been ill-deserved.
The Nets were a well-run, successful franchise during their nine-year tenure in the ABA. They reached the second round of the playoffs seven times, the ABA Finals three times, and won the ABA title twice. Since joining the NBA in 1976, the Nets have made the second round six times, the NBA Finals twice and won zero titles.
So, what explains this discrepancy? The New York Knicks.
When the NBA and ABA merged, the four ABA teams (Spurs, Nuggets, Pacers, Nets) joining the NBA all had to pay a $3.2 million fee to the league. The Nets, however, were walloped with another $4.8 million for intruding upon the Knicks' market area.
The combined $8 million penalty nearly bankrupted the Nets and forced them to sell their prized player, Julius Erving, to the Philadelphia 76ers. The financial stress also forced their move from Long Island to New Jersey.
This set in motion a series of events where the Nets struggled to survive. Until Jason Kidd's arrival in the 2001-02 season, the Nets were sometimes competitive, but usually mediocre, winning just one playoff series during this 25-year span.
Kidd spurred New Jersey to their most success since Julius Erving's band of merry dunkers in the 1970s. However, when Kidd was traded midway through the 2007-08 season, New Jersey fell back into the muck. It petered out in 2009-10 with just 12 wins.
The trade for Deron Williams in February of 2011 took the league by surprise and finally gave the Nets a new franchise cornerstone to couple with their young center Brook Lopez. The cornerstone may have been laid, but more work was needed. Lopez's broken foot, and Deron's broken jumper, temporarily set the club back in 2011-12. The lockout shortened-season saw New Jersey stumble to a 22-44 record.
A much ballyhooed move to Brooklyn gave the Nets a new set of digs, a new set of threads, and a new-look roster.
The "new digs" is the luxurious Barclays Center. The new threads came in the form of black-and-white jerseys designed by Jay-Z. The new-look roster consists of hustle man Reggie Evans, the stupendously priced Joe Johnson, the return of Brook Lopez and the castaway Andray Blatche.
Despite the lofty expectations and fresh look, the Nets stumbled to a 14-14 record under Avery Johnson. No doubt, this record was the best the Nets had seen in years, but the expectations were lofty not average.
Avery Johnson was unceremoniously fired in late December and assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo took over as head coach. Since then, the Nets have scorched their way to a 5-1 record. Much like the Timberwolves with Rambis and Adelman, it appears having the talent is not enough. Installing the right coach to manipulate and use the talent available is just as important.
If the Boston Celtics continue struggling, it appears the Nets are at worst going to finish second in the Atlantic Division. If they keep up their recent play, they may even challenge the Knicks for first place in the division. In any event, the Nets are a lock for the postseason for the first time in six years.