"That's a really sad report," Truehoop's Henry Abbott remarked to David Thorpe in the aftermath of his grim proposition that the Brooklyn Nets are destined to be the NBA's worst team. The video preview saw Thorpe chastise Brooklyn for their dependency on Joe Johnson, 1-3 starting positions he labeled "worst in the league", and the complete lack of coherence with the gritty coaching style of Lionel Hollins.
Thorpe's blunt outlook for the Nets is one of particular interest to Celtics fans in anticipation of the unprotected first rounder coming Boston's way from the Paul Pierce trade. There will likely be more C's than Nets fans tuning into every game and breaking down personnel decisions that draw Brooklyn closer to the bottom of the league.
The disastrous expectations of the Nets isn't a lone opinion of Thorpe either. FiveThirtyEight's player projection system has Brooklyn at a dreadful 25-57 with scary trends on their aging veterans, while ESPN's Kevin Pelton sees a franchise on the sharp downturn:
The Nets' experiment is at its conclusion. The decision to buy out the final two years of Williams' contract left only Johnson in Brooklyn, and his deal is up at season's end. For their $120 million-plus in luxury tax in that span, not counting the salaries themselves, all the Nets have to show is a single playoff series win. The worst may be yet to come for Brooklyn, which owes future draft picks outright or via swap rights each of the next three years.
Beyond their abysmal roster dependent on fossils like Johnson and an already-raging Jarrett Jack there appears to be a prevalence of stink in Brooklyn's locker room that everybody knows and seems to accept. Could the team rise above their lack of draft-oriented hope and try to push for a playoff return? Sure, but it doesn't seem like they have anywhere near that amount of heart. Just look at how ridiculously their preseason began.
Brook Lopez and Thad Young led a playoff push last year playing levels unlikely repeatable for a full season. In an improved east those two will need to be great again for Brooklyn to see any fruits bloom from their dying tree. Any inconsistency or injury from either will put the team right where Thorpe predicted.
There's a sense of excitement entering 2015-16 over the return of a Celtics roster that scorched through the league over the final two months, but even more satisfying is the fact that the Nets will be alleviating the need for Boston to worry about its own draft position. Watching the Nets crash and burn may yield as much entertainment as viewing the C's soar to new levels.
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Photo Credit: Robert Sabo/NYDN Bobby Manning 10/20/2015 07:32:00 AM Tweet Edit