Best-Case, Worst-Case Scenarios for the Brooklyn Nets' 2013-14 Campaign
The team that is grabbing the attention around the league this offseason is the Brooklyn Nets. After a blockbuster deal that saw Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett land in Brooklyn (via NBA.com), the Nets have instantly been recognized as the newest "super team" with a roster that's capable of competing for a championship.
However, not all teams that were put together in one offseason are guaranteed to have success during the regular season and the playoffs. Furthermore, the Nets aren't exactly getting any younger and their title window is already closing before it started.
The Nets have a full training camp to work together and mesh with everyone on the team—especially the newcomers like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry.
The bane of this Nets team will be injuries. Most of the key players on the roster are turning on the wrong side of 30, and some are over 35 already. If the team can play through the entire regular season without suffering any major injuries, it would certainly give the players more opportunities to develop their chemistry on the court.
We saw what happened last year with the Los Angeles Lakers, where injuries played a major part in the team not being able to develop that teamwork on the floor, and it ultimately couldn't come together by the end of the season.
As with most older, veteran teams, the Nets face the same situation. The best-case scenario starts with health, as that will determine how well this team could play.
If the team avoids any major injuries, the Nets could finish with a top two seed in the Eastern Conference. Pierce and Garnett would still be productive players and show everyone that they still have something left in the tank, while Deron Williams regains his status as one of the best point guards in the NBA.
Brook Lopez is already a top-five center in the league and got selected to participate in the All-Star game last season, but he will continue to improve on both ends of the floor.
Terry, Kirilenko, Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans will all be terrific off of the bench and they allow the Nets to use a variety of different lineups to throw at the opponent. The majority of the team is pretty old, but the roster's depth allows them to cycle through quality players and bring fresh legs onto the floor for every second in a game.
With coach Jason Kidd managing the minutes of every player and all of them avoiding injuries, the Nets will enter the playoffs healthy and ready to roll.
In the playoffs, the Nets will fight past the first two rounds and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. After a hard battle, they will defeat their opponent in that round—presumably the Miami Heat—and reach the finals with their stars playing the best basketball of their career.
In the worst possible scenario, the team just doesn't mesh well, injuries will accumulate and the team just doesn't play at a championship level.
Williams, Pierce and Joe Johnson constantly have difficulties trying to play together and they haven't found a way to be effective without the ball in their hands.
Garnett and Lopez make a formidable front-court duo with Lopez's dominant low-post play and Garnett's ability to stretch the floor, but they aren't able to get it together on defense. Garnett has been a great individual defender throughout his career, but his body is starting to break down as he ages another year. Lopez, who allowed opposing centers to average a PER of 17.3 against him last season (per 82games.com), does not improve that much on defense and opposing teams continue to abuse them down low.
The bench players are unable to efficiently contribute in the limited minutes they play and they aren't able to form a cohesive second unit.
The Nets ranked 28th in the league in pace last season (per Hollinger's Team Stats), which was ridiculously slow. With Pierce and Garnett added to the team, they will probably play at an even slower pace. Since they will be heavily reliant on executing their half-court offense, they must take good shots on every possession, or else the speed will be against them. With so many young, upcoming teams in the league today, the Nets will struggle to keep up with the pace.
After a rigorous regular season, the players just aren't able to keep their bodies healthy and they limp into the playoffs. The Nets will make the playoffs as the fourth or fifth seed like last season, but they will be bounced out of the playoffs in the second round by either the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat.
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