A concrete floor may look like a comfortable bed more than the Washington Wizards look like championship contenders this season, but the Brooklyn Nets still have something very important that they must prove to both themselves and the rest of the league during Friday night’s matchup: that they have the leadership it takes to win away from the Barclays Center.
The Nets looked impressive in both of their home victories, but given that they’re a team stockpiled with veteran talent, there’s no reason to be winless on the road after games against two good-but-not-great teams in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic. Winning away from home isn’t easy by any means, but it’s something that a team with these sorts of expectations needs to do and do well.
Lackluster would be a generous word to describe the way the Nets looked in Cleveland and Orlando. Those were games that any legitimate title-chaser should get, but the Nets looked flatter than a sheet of paper in both losses, especially when they received that Central Florida smackdown.
Now presented with another opportunity to establish a winning record, the 2-2 Nets are in desperate need of quality leadership in the nation’s capital. It doesn’t matter if that comes from Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, coach Jason Kidd or all of the above. It has to come from somewhere if they want to break through on the road. Clearly, this problem from last season hasn’t been completely mended just yet.
It may only be the fifth game of the season, but a win in Washington on Friday night would be enormous for the Nets as it would at least temporarily answer any lingering questions about their leadership.