After the blockbuster trade that sent future hall of famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets, the general reaction was very mixed. Some felt that this deal was a steal for the Nets, making them instant championship contenders. Others felt that this was an absolute disaster for the Nets, due to the fact that they gave up three first round picks. However, feelings toward the Celtics were pretty much unanimous. It was clear that the Celtics were going to enter rebuilding mode and analysts felt they were off to a good start with this move. While it is incredibly early in the year, the doubters of the trade have had their assumptions proven correct. Lets break down the Brooklyn Nets early troubles and look ahead to the future.
Old and Slow
A common criticism of the new Nets was that they would be old and slow. This has proven to be quite true. The Nets are being forced to play half court offense and have been awful on the fast break. Younger teams have had their way with the Nets. Take a game where they played the Orlando Magic. The leading candidate in the Andrew Wiggins lottery obliterated the Nets 107-86. In this game, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Afflalo, and Nikola Vucevic all torched their counter parts on both ends of the floor. Oladipo in particular used his speed and athleticism to beat Joe Johnson, Shaun Livingston, and Paul Pierce on multiple occasions. While Oladipo shows promise, he’s still a rookie. What’s going to happen when the Nets play more seasoned veterans like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and cross-town rival Carmelo Anthony? All of these stars feast on fast break opportunities and it seems like they will have a full plate against the Nets.
A Kidd Coaching
Bringing in a head coach fresh off of playing his last year in the NBA as a player is a massive gamble with a high ceiling. Crossing sports, take a look at Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals. He had been the team’s catcher for many years and when he wanted to become a coach St. Louis brought him. In three years as a manager, Matheny has led the Cards to Two World Series Appearances. Jason Kidd has not shown the same promise. Kidd has looked lost late in games, struggled with defensive assignment, and has been abysmal when it comes to time management. Kidd has had an interesting approach when it comes to managing player’s minutes. The Nets have 8 players averaging 20 minutes a night. This is an experiment that could prove a huge payoff come late in the season, or crash and burn massively.
Not Enough Versatility
If you look at Brooklyn’s starting five, they have five players who fit their positions. The problem is, at this point, they are all shells of their former selves. Garnett is completely broken down and may not make it through his contract. Pierce and Johnson are shooters who can play a little bit of on ball defense. Lopez is a scorer but isn’t strong enough to play on defense. Then there is Deron Williams. While he showed flashes of being the All Star PG that the Nets acquired, there has been something off this year. It may be the injured foot or it may just be the possibility that he’s past his prime. The issues get worse when the 2nd unit is just a lesser version of the starting five. Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Jason Terry, and Mason Plumlee are just carbon copies of their starting counterparts. The one thing the Nets need more than anything is a bruising center like Brenden Haywood to make up for the weakness of Brook Lopez.
It needs to be noted that Brooklyn has only played six games this season. Growing pains are expected for a unit as new as this, but that is no excuse. This team looks slow, weak, and old. They wont be able to keep up with teams like the Pacers Heat, and Bulls with this current play.