With the acquisition of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Brooklyn Nets have made the biggest splash so far in this 2013 free agency period. Having officially signed the two former Boston Celtics players this past Friday, new Nets head coach Jason Kidd was not afraid to speak up about his vision for this new formidable lineup against the defending champion Miami Heat.
“They’re the blueprint, they’re the champs, they won it twice in a row, [and] they could have won it three times in a row,” Kidd told Michael Wallace of ESPN.com on Friday. “They put that team together to try to win championships, and they’ve had a lot of success. So if you want to compete with them, you’ve got to have the horses. And I think we have that.”
It makes plenty of sense for coach Kidd to set his sight for the Heat. They are not only the defending champions, but they have been arguably the best the team by far in the Eastern Conference for the last three years. On paper, though, this Nets team has a potentially nightmarish starting lineup in the form of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez. The trade that brought the Celtics Marshon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph and three first-round picks is by all means fair considering these two teams’ visions going into the next few years. The Celtics are basically stripping their roster in anticipation for the 2014 NBA Draft, which is being described as one of the greatest the league has ever seen. Meanwhile, the Nets have made an all-or-nothing push for championship contention by trading away future picks and young talent for aging future hall of famers with potential lingering injuries.
Coach Kidd has described this overhaul in likeness to the Heat’s back in 2010, when they stripped their roster and signed LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Even with the potential this Nets team could have, coach Kidd knows there is a chance that starting out there could be some bumps and bruises.
“When the Heat were put together, there was talk of going undefeated. They didn’t get off to a great start, but they found a way to win back-to-back championships. We’re not the Miami Heat, but we [also] feel that we can compete at a high level. With that being said, there’s going to be a lot of eyes on us,” Kidd told ESPN’s Mike Wallace.
All eyes will be on the Nets this season, especially now that they are being called the “better” team in New York. It will be interesting to see how well this Nets teams can hold up in terms of health, especially battling in a conference where there are other clear cut contenders. Coach Kidd knows that in order to preserve his starting lineup for a potential postseason run this year, he will have to monitor and limit the minutes of his older players, particularly Pierce and Garnett.
“That’s the best way to keep minutes down,” Kidd told ESPN’s Michael Wallace. “KG and Paul sometimes can be stubborn because they’re warriors and want to be out there and help. Hopefully, they’ll listen and understand the bigger picture. This should be an exciting time. A lot of times late in your career, you don’t have a chance to win a championship. But we do.”
With many of their players needing the ball in their hands to be successful, a new philosophy will have to be adopted by the entire Nets squad in order for them to be successful. If they want to mirror any team in terms of sharing the ball, they might want to take some notes on how the Heat operate. With James and Wade being such identical players in terms of style of play, a offensive scheme that features their greatest attributes was created to help them succeed, even without the ball in their hands. If the Nets are looking to advance to the NBA Finals, something they haven’t achieved since 2003, they will need to become who they are trying to defeat.