The Nets have been labeled as Eastern Conference contenders ever since the team pulled up stakes in New Jersey and moved to everybody’s favorite borough. And it’s not hard to see why. The Nets have an All-Star quality point guard in Deron Williams, an All-Star worthy and clutch small forward in Joe Johnson, a potential All-Star center in Brook Lopez and Kurt Rambis of the group, Andrei Kirilenko.
Year after year, the Nets have teased us about their potential to upset the then-mighty Miami Heat in the East, only to let us down year after year in the playoffs. Last season was no different. The Nets were “supposed” to be the third best team in the East, comprising a so-called “super team” that was supposed to give the boys from South Beach so much trouble.
What happened? The Nets got off to a horrible start, only to rebound after the All-Star break, needed seven games to beat a talented but inexperienced Toronto Raptors squad and then, as sort of an icing on the cake, got wiped away by the same Miami team they were gunning for all year in five games.
In other words, it was a typical Nets year.
So the question that should be asked now is, will the Nets finally break from their yearly disappointments and finally live up to their contender status? Or will they have another typical Nets year?
Once again, their roster points to the former. The team added much-needed shooting in the form of Jarrett Jack, and a much more capable head coach in the form of Lionel Hollins. Add those two to the existing core of Williams, Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Lopez, along with an ever-improving Mason Plumlee, and you have the making of a Nets team that, on paper, should be among the East elite.
But as history tells us, this team is prone to leaving us at the alter. So maybe we should take a wait-and-see approach with the Nets. I’m not saying Brooklyn won’t be good, it is a playoff contender. But if the Nets want us to treat them like contenders again, then they need to stop leaving us at the alter when the moment arises and start living up to their contender status for a change.
A typical Nets season is not going to cut it anymore.