In a highly competitive 30-team association that is famous for making memories, a championship is a lot to ask for. You can ask for any other Christmas present (league MVP, scoring title, etc.) but compared to an NBA Championship, it means nothing. Before the 2010-2011 season, new owner Mikhail Prokhorov made a very bold statement regarding his expectations of his newly-invested Brooklyn (New Jersey at the time) Nets franchise: “I expect us to win a championship in the next five years.”
Three years have gone by and the Nets have taken the necessary steps to improve their team year-by-year. At the trade deadline in the 2010-11 season, they swapped some very promising young assets for superstar point guard Deron Williams. The Utah Jazz got young big man Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, and two first-round picks in return (one of whom ended up being Enes Kanter). Based on that risky trade, it was clear that Prokhorov and the Nets wanted to start developing a ‘win now’ mentality.
During the 2011-12 campaign, the Nets made a trade for Gerald Wallace. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, Wallace wasn’t able to produce at his highest level in which he did for the Bobcats. ‘Crash’ struggled through injury problems in his time with the Nets and found his place as just a role player.
Previous to the 2012-13 season, the Nets made a deal to send away a few expiring contracts to the Atlanta Hawks for Joe Johnson’s oversized contract. The possible dynamic duo of Deron Williams and Johnson warned the rest of the Eastern Conference. However, the two were not able to play up to their potential together despite Joe Johnson being one of the most clutch players in the NBA last season. Brooklyn will continue to depend on this All-Star back court to bring them as far as they can get.
Finally, we get to the last step of the Brooklyn Nets’ attempt to build a championship-caliber team. Recently, the organization made a huge offseason splash in trading first-round picks and expiring contracts for three players with a championship on their resume – Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. That gives the new-look Brooklyn Nets probably the most talented starting lineup in the league: D-Will, Joe Johnson, Pierce, KG, and Brook Lopez.
Every single part of this organization knows darn well that there is no time left to waste. The Brooklyn Nets must treat this like the only chance they have because that very well could be true. While Pierce (35) and Garnett (37) say they still have a lot left in the tank, there is no denying the fact that they’re considered ‘old players’. We saw it in the first round of the 2013 playoffs: Pierce and Garnett no longer had the young legs and high energy to take down the fairly beatable New York Knicks. Therefore, there was no use for them to stay in Boston. That trade benefitted both the Celtics, who needed to call for a rebuilding period, as well as Pierce and KG.
Despite their age and the fact that they’re at the end of the careers, Pierce and Garnett do bring a lot to the table. That includes experience, leadership, killer mentality, stability, and much more. Inserting the two multi-time All-Stars in the forward spots gives the Nets an outstanding starting lineup on paper. However, we should look much deeper into the possible success of this team than just the starting lineup. Brooklyn has also put together a very respectable bench including Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, and Andray Blatche. That eight-man rotation can most definitely compete with any other roster in the league but they obviously have to prove that.
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov came up with a five-year plan and is about to be in the fourth year of executing it. But considering the situation Brooklyn is in now, this could end up being considered as a four-year plan. Now is the time for the Nets to go for all the marbles and they won’t be satisfied if they’re short just one.
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