Season One of "The Brooklyn Nets Experiment" is now complete, ending on May 4th to a cavalcade of mixed reviews.
Before we dive in to these differing sentiments, let's look at the regular season highlights:
- The Brooklyn Nets won 49 games, giving the 2012-13 troop its highest winning percentage since New Jersey's first full season with the Vince Carter team (2005-06).
- The team's Dwight Howard trade chip (Brook Lopez) made his first All-Star team.
- Deron Williams played like a max contract player as the season sped to late April.
- Joe Johnson's clutch jump shot was as consistently icy as his distant stare.
OK. Brooklyn's zombie season ended in embarrassing fashion, with a trite home loss to a reeling Chicago Bulls team. Still, there's much to take away from this expedited Nets playoff run.
What are we to make of this Brooklyn Nets playoff run? What does it tell us about this team moving forward? These questions and more, will be answered in short order over the next handful of slides.
Stats in this article from Basketball-Reference.com.
The Brooklyn Nets need a new head coach.
Why? Well, because they just fired their interim head man, Peter John Carlesimo. P.J. Carlesimo boasted a 35-19 record following Avery Johnson's ouster, but led Brooklyn's unceremonious bounce from the first round (much to the delight of Avery Johnson Jr.).
P.J. knew his goose was cooked, and spoke frankly about this on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday:
"I think short of winning a championship, it wouldn't have made any difference. I mean, Billy (King) was pretty candid. Had we won Saturday and advanced and were getting ready to play the Heat tonight, I think anything short of winning a championship wasn't going to change his mind or [ownership's] mind." - P.J. Carlesimo (h/t ESPN.com).
There's been a lot of speculation over the last 48 hours on potential P.J. replacements, with fellow B/R columnist Dan Favale devising a running list to fill his margins, but it's really important for this new coach to ensure that his squad is motivated and passionate for the sport.
This year's first-run version of the Brooklyn Nets was down by 17 at home in a desperate Game 7 scenario, listless and content to enjoy early vacation time in those cozy Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Let's look at the starting lineups for the Nets and Bulls from Game 7:
Chicago: Robinson/Belinelli/Boozer/Butler/Noah (3 All-Star appearances).
Brooklyn: Williams/Johnson/Wallace/Evans/Lopez (11 All-Star appearances).
Amazing. How do you lose this game on your home floor to this lineup? Chicago just trotted out a squad who is ripe for slaughter!
This postseason fiasco all begins and ends with Brooklyn's floor general, Deron Williams. Deron knows what to say to the media, but needs to back up his press statements with better play.
|Deron Williams - Postseason Decline|
|Points/Game||Field Goal Pct.||Assists/Game|
|Post All-Star Break (28 games)||22.9||48%||8.0|
|Playoffs (7 games)||20.6||42%||8.4|
Ooph. Heck, during the playoffs, Brooklyn was better when Deron rode the bench, per Basketball-Reference.com. Bad timing and bad play from your main man equals quick exits.
Only a few short days ago, Gerald Wallace was a man without a mission.
“I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you my role now,” Wallace said Friday at the team’s hotel in Chicago. “I don’t have a clue what my role is on this team.” - New York Daily News.
What a difference a week makes. Since Game 3, when Wallace uttered these infamous words to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, he has been a man unbound, eager to prove his $40 million worth to the Nets allies.
|Gerald Wallace - A Man Reborn|
|Points/Game||Field Goal Pct.||3-Points FG Pct.|
|Games 1-3 (pre-quote)||7.0||36.4% ||22.2%
|Games 4-7 (post-quote)||15.8||51.1% ||45.0%
Wow. Maybe Gerald Wallace should doubt his abilities in press conferences more often.
By all accounts, Brook Lopez was the steady, ready superstar for Brooklyn this season and this series.
It's been said that Brook Lopez's one glaring weakness is his inability to play defense, but this series proved otherwise.
Brook Lopez averaged three blocks per contest over the seven games, and submitted 22 points per game to boot.
But those base numbers don't tell the entire story: The Bulls shot better from the floor when Brook sat (48 percent vs. 56 percent), turned the ball over less and scored roughly 11 points extra, with that 114.6 offensive rating mark against those non-Brook lineups comparatively standing as the best in the NBA over 82 games, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Brook wasn't dominant, but he was no revolving door either.
If Brook can hold those numbers over the next 82 game haul, the Nets would be a dark horse candidate to make some noise on the Atlantic coast next year.
Even before the Summer of 2013 begins, the Nets will hold a $90 million dollar payroll. So, how can the Nets get better and faster before next season?
Now introducing...the Kris Humphries Expiring Contract!
Next season, Kim Kardashian's ex-husband will be getting $12 million in salary. With his contract set to roll off the Brooklyn books in 2014, Kris now becomes a very interesting trade chip.
Here are a few suggestions:
Kris Humphries + Marshon Brooks (rookie scale) = Alexey Shved + Derrick Williams?
Kris Humphries + Brook Lopez = Dwight Howard (in a sign and trade)?
Kris Humphries + Joe Johnson = Amar'e Stoudemire + J.R. Smith?
Hmm. There's only one thing for certain: Nets GM Billy King will be wearing a "Kris Humphries 4 Sale" t-shirt around Summer League scouts in Las Vegas come July.