Heading into their second season in their new city, the Brooklyn Nets are a vastly improved squad that were able to clinch a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference last year.
They were able to trade several role players (most notably Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks) to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and with a new head coach in Jason Kidd, things could be very different for the former New Jersey franchise this season.
Are those changes enough to contend for an NBA title this year?
The expectations are lofty in the Big Apple for this team. Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov said from the start that his idea was to put up a team that could challenge for the title in any given season, and despite the fact that they were able to get to the playoffs last year, it was fairly noticeable that former head coach Avery Johnson wasn’t a respected figure in the dressing room and that players like Wallace and Humphries were not on the level the team needed them to be.
The arrival of Kidd gives the Nets a new infusion on youth in the sidelines as he was one of the greatest point guards in the last 30 years, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Kidd retired last year and he has no experience managing a roster, let alone one with the pedigree this Brooklyn team has: players like Garnett, Pierce and Deron Williams have all played in the biggest stages of basketball, and it will be tough to see how Kidd can manage the different personalities.
The rotation and the chemistry are also a point to take into consideration. With players that are on the downturn of their careers like the two former Celtics, they will expect a big role in the quest for an NBA title; but at the same time, they aren’t able to play 35 minutes per game on a consistent basis. If they want to improve on what they did last season, they need to get depth and quality in their bench as the deeper teams usually achieve greater things.
To contend this season, a lot of things need to go well for the Nets. They will have to battle the likes of the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls in the East, while the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs appear as contenders in the West. It is definitively a tough schedule, and they will need to be at their best all season long to stand a chance come playoff time.
The Nets took the right step with the signing of Garnett and Pierce. To truly contend, however, they need at least one or two more years to develop championship chemistry between all the elements of the roster.