Another day, another team. This time around we’re heading to the Big Apple to discuss everyone’s favorite New York team…Oh…No…Not those guys; we’re talking about the Brooklyn Nets!
Last Season: It’s impossible to mention the 2012 Nets without immediately noting the hubbub of their departure from NJ to NYC. More than anything last season was about the Net’s move to Brooklyn, new digs and all. (As someone who’s been to Barclays I can attest to the awesomeness, by the way.) After starting the season well, the nets fell apart abysmally, losing 10 of 13 and quickly firing coach Avery Johnson, replacing him with P.J. Carlesimo. Finishing the season 49-33 (good for fourth in the East) the Nets played a competitive first round series against a hobbled Bulls team, eventually losing in a game 7 at home.
What they’ve done this offseason: Boy oh boy does Prokhorov want to win now, no matter the cost. Before the spending binge, the Nets immediately replaced Carlesimo with the newly retired Jason Kidd. Soon after GM Billy King flipped Gerald Wallace’s decaying corpse, Kris Humphries, and middling prospect Kris Joseph, plus a bunch of picks, to the Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. There’s no doubt that the KG, PP, and JET acquisitions are clear upgrade in the short term, adding smart, talented two way players at three key positions. Getting rid of Wallace is just icing on the cake. Still, the Nets weren’t done there, convincing Shaun Livingston to sign for the league minimum as the backup to Deron Williams. To end the offseason, the Nets, in one of the slyest moves of the offseason, signed Andrei Kirilenko, who had just opted out of a one year, 10 mi deal with Minnesota, to a two year 3.18 mil/yr deal. Nothing sneaky there folks! Move along… Finally, the Nets drafted prospect Mason Plumlee, who likely wont see a ton of playing time given the depth that already exists. All in all, that’s a pretty big off season for an already decent team. As long as the Nets survive the regular season (since they’ll likely monitor all their players minutes heavily) they should be a force come playoffs.
How they match up with the Cavs: On paper, the match-up is probably one of the less interesting. The Nets are older/more skilled while the Cavs are younger and rawer. What makes this match-up interesting is the potential for a first round meeting. In a seven game series I like the Cavs’ chances of stealing a few games. Bynum is definitely the best interior defender of the bunch, Kyrie and Dion the superior athletes, and Tristan the younger/wildcard vs KG. Ultimately, in a 7 game series, if all the chips fall correctly, these Cavs should perform well.
Match-up to Watch: This is a tough question to answer. My gut says Kyrie/Deron will continue to be an interest match-up, but with so many young PGs in the NBA I’d hardly rank this high on the list of must-watchers. Dion matches up terribly against a substantially longer Joe Johnson while Tristan probably wont spend a ton of time up against KG during the regular reason. Brook Lopez and Bynum should be a fun one to watch if Bynum comes back, but keep in mind that Brook is a horrible defender. The second unit match-ups are probably the most interesting, with Andray Blatche/Andy V, Livingston/Jack, and Ak47/Gee all posing some interesting questions.