In 2002 and 2003, the New Jersey Nets approached the pinnacle of basketball. They were on the brink of making history year after year.
Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Kenyon Martin were a great core. The Nets even brought in Vince Carter to try to finally get the job done and take home the NBA trophy.
It didn't work.
The Nets couldn't get over the hump to become the top team, as opposed to a top team. And as the years went on, New Jersey's hopes at a championship decreased.
Don't get me wrong—the period between 2004-06 was not bad, they were still a playoff caliber team. Many owners would have been content with a solid veteran team like that.
The Nets looked at the situation in a more unique way.
They took the logical philosophy that if you have an aging team, then you will never get better. They aborted their mission, and decided to build for the future—they never wanted to see the day when they were old and bad.
The Nets let Kenyon Martin walk away, then proceeded to trade away Kidd to the foolish Dallas Mavericks. In return for the aging star, the Nets received Devin Harris.
Harris looks like he is going to be a all-star caliber point guard. After never accomplishing 30 points in a game, he did so three times in a row recently.
Then, the Nets went on to the next stage of their plan. They traded away Richard Jefferson, the man who led their team in scoring last year, for a project named Yi Jianlian. He is a project that should be well worth while—he has a sweet shot.
In one of the most impressive draft day performances in recent memory, New Jersey got Brook Lopez, Ryan Anderson, and Chris Douglas Roberts.
Lopez has the size, strength, shot, athleticism, and most importantly the attitude and understanding of the game to become an all-star center.
CDR is a slasher who can cut into the lane and create, and Anderson is leading the league in three-point field-goal percentage to date.
Sure, they were bad last year. Sure, they are going to be bad this year. The thing is, they saw disaster chasing them, and the escaped.
Now the Nets are ready for a possible move to Brooklyn and will show up in style. This is thanks to Kiki Vandeweghe and Rod Thorn building this team, which will consist of Harris, Douglas-Roberts, Lopez, Anderson, Yi, Sean Williams, and Josh Boone for years to come.
This is a good young team that also has a lot of cap room. They will be ready to add a star, move to Brooklyn, and content seriously for an NBA title sooner than you think.
An example of a team that made a mistake is the Washington Wizards.
They were going nowhere fast, and had a lot of cap room. What did they do? They resigned their big-name veteran players, Gilbert Arenas, and Antwan Jamison.
In not copying the Nets formula, the Wizards have virtually rid themselves of any chance of real success in the near future.
Struggling and aging teams around the league should try to employ the Nets superior tactics, and find that 'Dallas' team that will give you an golden egg.
All your team has to do is wait for it to hatch. The Nets are waiting patiently right now, and I think we are beginning to feel the very first signs of life.