Had the Brooklyn Nets chose to move forward with the roster that they had last season, they certainly would not have been well off for the 2013-14 NBA season. Though a talented core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez is certainly attractive on paper, it didn’t work out well for them last year as they were bounced in the first round of the postseason.
The Nets seemed to be acutely aware of this problem over the summer as they pulled off undoubtedly the biggest trade of the offseason when they landed Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, as well as Jason Terry, on a draft-night trade with the Boston Celtics. With the addition of two Hall-of-Famers, even in the twilight of their careers, the Nets figured to be a potential contender in the Eastern Conference.
While Pierce has looked solid in limited minutes and Terry has been a spark off of the bench, the trade hasn’t worked out in the Nets’ favor thus far as the team sits at just 2-4 to start the year. A big part of why the trade hasn’t worked out thus far and why the Nets are struggling has been the poor performance of Kevin Garnett.
At 37 years old, we knew that Garnett would be on a minutes restriction this season and wouldn’t be as big of a factor as he was in Boston, but we also figured that he would still be effective when he was on the floor. Considering that he’s averaging only six points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 23.2 minutes per game to start the year, while shooting just 32.1 percent to boot, that hasn’t been the case.
To put it as plainly as possible, Garnett looks his age on the floor. He’s not moving as well as he did even last season and his energy level in terms of his play hasn’t matched his intensity. If the Nets are going to reach the pinnacles that they planned to coming into this season, they have to find a solution for Garnett. They could gear their system to help him succeed when he’s on the floor, they could make tweaks to when he sees the floor, or they could just cut his minutes a great deal. No matter what they do, though, they have to find a solution and there’s no time like the present.