Let's take a look at the adversity the Nets must rise above on their quest to the finals.
This is an issue most teams face, but in Brooklyn's case, because of its aging roster and two-year window, it's a concern that'll be carried throughout the year.
While Brook Lopez could emerge as a dominant force this season, he's the only player in the Nets' starting lineup under the age of 29.
Although those three athletes haven't been stigmatized as injury prone, they are a few years removed from being able to handle an 82-game workload.
Garnett hasn't played in at least 72 games since 2006-07, and Joe Johnson hasn't surpassed that threshold since 2009-10, when he played in 76 games for the Atlanta Hawks.
Pierce on the other hand, because of his smooth and effortless style of play, checked into 77 games last season, and looks to be the most durable out of the three.
Aside from them, one must also take into consideration the injury history of Brooklyn's super-sub Andrei Kirilenko. The Russian swingman should match and exceed last season's total of 64 games played, figuring that he'll average fewer than 30 minutes per game. But his selfless and often reckless style of play is his Achilles' heel.
Even though the Nets have a deep roster, with solid role players such as Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche and Jason Terry, a substantial injury to any of their starters could trigger a difficult season.
Jason Kidd's Coaching Experience
One mustn't worry too much about Kidd's inexperience—he's basically been coaching on the court for the past five years—but at the end of the day, he's a rookie head coach with a convoluted, aging roster singing its swan song.
In an earlier B/R piece, I outlined coaching adjustments as one of the challenges Kidd will face this season. That and game preparation will determine the extent of his coaching success.
How he breaks down game tape and draws up scouting reports will determine not only wins and losses but the amount of respect he earns from his players.
Right now Kidd's legacy as a superstar point guard has his players willing to listen to his every word, but if incompetence strikes, and he fails to prepare his team the way a veteran coach would, it won't be long before his allure evaporates and his players tune him out.
The Depth of the Eastern Conference
In years past, the East has been a joke with a few teams reaching the playoffs with records below .500, but this is the present and the shift of talent makes reaching the NBA finals more difficult for the Nets.
Brooklyn has the horses to compete with each of those teams. However, will be a tough journey. Health, coaching adjustments and preparation will be the key to winning a ring.
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