Bold Predictions for the Brooklyn Nets' 2013-14 Campaign
Years from now, the Brooklyn Nets will be remembered in the 2013 offseason for constructing one of the best rosters in the NBA—on paper. It's still unclear if this team, which possesses a quality player even at the end of the bench, could live up to expectations and dominate like they should.
Not every quickly-built superteam could compete at the highest level, and sometimes the players on the team just don't work well together. The Miami Heat are a prime example of a superteam that found success shortly after coming together. They've reached the finals in the last three years and secured the championship trophy in the past two years.
The story is different for the Nets. Not only do they have a bunch of players who are out of their primes and could be reduced to role players at any moment, but they'll have a payroll close to $100 million in 2013-14. The expectations are even higher, especially since this team has only a short window to contend for a title.
These are my bold predictions for the Nets and how they will fare in 2013-14.
Deron Williams Will Become the Best Point Guard in the League
If I said Deron Williams was the best point guard in the NBA three years ago, there wouldn't be much criticism in that statement. There were only two point guards who could've been labeled as the best in the league, either Williams or Chris Paul.
In recent times though, Williams has somewhat fallen off the map because of new, younger point guards like Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose making a name for themselves. Paul has also taken his game to a whole new level and left Williams behind in the dust.
Williams now has the best supporting cast in his career and he is the leader of this team. With weapons like Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez playing alongside him, there aren't anymore excuses for Williams to not perform.
Last season, Williams averaged a respectable 18.9 PPG and 7.7 APG on 44 percent shooting from the field. Those numbers are still great, but they're a far cry from his 19.0 PPG and 10.6 APG on 48.3 percent shooting that he averaged between 2007 and 2010 (per Basketball Reference).
The Nets Will Have the Best Record in the East
The 2007-08 Boston Celtics are the primary example of a superteam put together in one offseason who instantly became the best team in the entire league in just one season.
The Nets probably won't be the best team in the league, but they're more than capable of snatching the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Although they have three players over the age of 31 in their projected started lineup (Johnson, Pierce, Garnett), they are built for the long haul and could very well come out with the best record in the league.
As I mentioned earlier, this team can go 10 deep. They have a bench that could rival opposing team's starting lineups and an extraordinary amount of quality depth. It may take some time for this group of players to develop their chemistry, but when they do, they will be incredibly potent.
The Roster Will Stay Healthy for the Entire Season
Health is the most important factor that could potentially halt a team from being a championship contending team.
The Nets are already a playoff team, but they won't be able to take the step to the next level if their older players cannot remain healthy. It's not necessarily just their older players, as Pierce and Garnett have been injured less than the younger Williams and Lopez over the past few seasons.
Lopez worked his way back from a foot injury last season and played limited minutes throughout the year, while Williams suffered a variety of different injuries, prompting him to think about getting surgery on his ankle (via Mike Mazzeo of ESPN).
The team won't be able to accomplish much if their roster becomes riddled with injury and health problems, so staying healthy is the first step to success.
The Nets Will Have 4 Players Selected to the All-Star Team
For the first time since 2011, a team will send four All-Stars to the NBA All-Star game.
And that team will be the Nets.
The entire starting lineup could compete for a chance to be selected to the All-Star game next season, and all of them have been selected at least once in their respective careers to participate at the event.
However, the Nets will be the first team since the 2011 Boston Celtics to send four of their players to the game. Between Williams, Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Lopez, the two most likely candidates are Lopez and Williams. The other two spots will be between the two swingmen and Garnett, who was voted in as a starter in last season's game.