Last Season: 20-62 (.244)
The Nets are one of those teams where some basketball commentators and fans seem to confuse fun and entertaining with good at basketball. After several years of poor management and the fallout from a disastrous trade with the Celtics where they were depleted of much needed draft picks, every sign points to this team being fun to watch at minimum and perhaps finally managed competently. However, with the incompetence of past management still haunting them, the franchise does not own their draft pick for the season. Glass half full Nets fans will argue this is a good thing since there is no incentive for the team to tank the season, as is seemingly the case for half the Eastern Conference. The Nets are full of players that have been traded several times or early in their careers, or players who have bounced around the league and been overlooked. They’re a team of rejects. Glass half full Nets fans will say sure, this does mean they don’t have star talent but they do have players with some titanic sized chips on their shoulders.
Jeremy Lin will be back after missing a large chunk of last season and he will start with another solid playmaker D’Angelo Russell. Russell, drafted number two in the 2015 draft turned 21 this year was traded to the Nets from the Lakers as a part of a salary dump of Timofey Mozgov’s awful contract. The Nets are a sort of jealous stepfather to Russell and are hoping he grows and matures as a player and a person into a star player with them so they can take all the credit for his development. Star potential is certainly not a pipe dream for Russell who averaged 15 points and 5 assists as a twenty-year-old second year player last season. Incase you are an unaware; those are very impressive numbers for a player that age.
Twenty-five year old Allen Crabbe who never seemed to quite gel with the Trailblazers will be going H.A.M. for buckets off the bench. Twenty-two year old Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and twenty-three year old Caris LaVert still have a lot of potential to fill as possibly dynamic wing players and Spencer Dinwiddie had some flashes of slightly above mediocrity as a backup point guard last year. All this is to say the Nets might pull some W’s this season because of their depth in the one through three positions, especially in the eastern conference.
On the other hand, the Nets big men are going to be fish filleted. Center Brooke Lopez, who was their best player last season, was part of the Russell trade to the Lakers. Thirty-one year old Mozgof is slow and slowly becoming obsolete and Nets fans are taking a risk if they expect thirty-one year old DeMarre Carroll to have starter production
The Samuel L. Jackson of basketball analysts Sam Vecenie has repeatedly predicted that Russell will average 20 and 7 this season. If I may Mr. Vecenie, 22 and 7 is more like it. As mentioned earlier, the Lakers traded him as a pure salary dump to get rid of Mozfov’s salary. The kicker though was after the trade, Lakers president Magic Johnson spoke negatively on Russell’s leadership and playmaking skills. This came off as desperate for the approval of Lakers fans and just petty af. Not only should you expect Russell to have nasty revenge games against the Lakers but expect him to have a nasty revenge season. Taking it a step further, don’t just expect him to have a revenge season, expect him to have a revenge career. Down the road D’Angelo Russell will be a perennial all-star and forever plague the conscious of Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka, who kicked him to the curb just for the chance to brown-nose LeBron James during a free agency meeting in the summer of 2018.
Vegas over-under: 27.5
Bill Simmons, a man whose basketball mind could only be paralleled by Joe Naismith himself, predicted an over while future fifth head on Mount Rushmore Joe House was unimpressed with the talent on the roster and predicted the under. Glass half full Nets fans might actually be right this time, but not too right. Big men like Myles Turner, Embiid, and Porzingus are going to be trouncing out of Barclays Arena with 30 points and 15 rebound nights on the reg this season.
Having said that having two playmakers in the lineup with Lin and Russell is a tactic that all 30 NBA teams will be using in the next coming years. The Nets rotations in the point guard through small forward will provide them with consistent energy and scoring power through all 48 minutes. Combine that with the factor of shear heart and hustle, the Nets will finish the season with 30 games.