The Brooklyn Nets will likely break 50 wins for the first time since 2002 this year.
Fans have good reason to be excited with a litany of great pick ups this year. Everyone knows about Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but Andrei Kirilenko and Shaun Livingston were solid additions too. Even with these immense improvements there are questions, though.
All these additions raise a ton of questions. How many minutes will Garnett and Pierce play? How will this team defend with so many slow players? How much does Garnett have left in the tank? Will there be issues with who gets the ball? How can an offense with Deron Williams, Pierce, Joe Johnson, Garnett and Brook Lopez give enough touches to each? Who is the go to guy at crunch time?
These are all question that need to be answered, but most are good problems to have. Overall this team should kill it on offense. Lopez was 6th in PER last year and Williams was no slouch either, scoring around 20 points a game. Now they’ve added Pierce who is a brilliant scorer and passer. Every one of their starting five can shoot which should make covering the lane impossible for opposing teams.
The only way this does not turn out great for the Nets is if the defense cannot hold up. There are legitimate questions about it, too. Lopez and Johnson are subpar defenders. Pierce can no longer play high level defense, and Williams has never taken much interest in it. Kirilenko should be a major help, but all in all the defense comes down to Garnett. Garnett is usually a force, but he may have trouble playing enough minutes to really hold up the defense. The Nets need to rest him a lot during the regular season so he can get 30 minutes a night in for the playoffs. Their new coach Jason Kidd will have a tough time managing that so that his entire team can be fresh for the postseason.
This is a team of veterans so ultimately the regular season does not matter much. They will probably get a lower seed than most would like, but come playoff time, look out; the Nets could give just about anyone in the a run for their money, and it is not impossible to imagine them coming out of the East.
Prediction: Nets get 53 wins and the No. 4 seed.