The hype surrounding the Brooklyn Nets heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season is incredibly high. After an off-season where they were able to add Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry, the hype undoubtedly should be high. They are an incredibly talented team that, if things go right, could challenge the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
I’ve spoken on the Nets’ improvements, even claiming that they will be better than their rivals, the New York Knicks. In terms of talent and depth, that’s not that bold of a claim. The Nets have a roster that could be argued as the most talented in the entire league. However, there’s a caveat to the Nets being better than the Knicks: all of their new talent has to gel.
We all saw it happen with the Heat in the 2010-2011 NBA season with the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh and the formation of the Big Three. There was a learning curve with that team early in the season in terms of them playing together for the first time. They had to learn how to be successful as a unit. Actually, they didn’t fully develop that chemistry until the following season, as we saw when they fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.
The Nets will likely have some of the same issues as they try to integrate their new veteran pieces. Pierce, Garnett, Kirilenko and Terry will have to get acclimated to playing with guys like Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez before they hit their stride. It’s going to be a challenge that they are going to have to face and overcome this season. However, there’s a difference between this Nets team and the 2010-2011 Miami Heat.
While the Heat were built around three stars essentially trying to do everything for their team, the new additions to the Nets actually fit glaring needs that the Nets had last season. Pierce and Kirilenko will give Brooklyn solid, consistent and efficient play at the small forward, something Gerald Wallace was unable to provide last season, while Garnett will solidify the power forward position that was filled by serviceable-but-not-great guys like Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries last season. Terry will also give the Nets a player off of the bench that can perform at either guard position, something they could have used last year.
Make no mistake, there will be a learning curve as the Nets try to make this newly constructed roster work and gel, much like the Big Three in Miami did initially. It will be different than the situation with the Heat, though; the Nets should be able to hit their stride a bit quicker.