What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 6. Brooklyn Nets

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  10-4 , tied first place Atlantic Division

This Month:

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)

  • Points Scored: 95.6 (20th)
  • Points Allowed: 91.5 (1st)
  • Team FG%: .448 (12th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .456 (26th)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.3 (18th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 40.4 (7th)
  • Turnovers per game: 13.7 (5th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 14.6 (18th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (as of November 30th)

Worst Player of the Month: Kris Humphries

Last season Kris Humphries had a monster year posting career highs in scoring (13.8ppg), rebounding (11.0rpg) and blocked shot per game (1.2).  Unfortunately, once the season started Humphries was nowhere to be seen as he had completely disappeared in the roster as all his stats have significantly dropped from last season.  His scoring dropped by almost half to just 7.9 per game while his rebounding per game dropped to single digits.  Some might point out that the reason why Humphries may lie in the new arrivals of Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace along the the return of the oft injured Brook Lopez; however, those news additions should not have production by that much, especially in the rebounding department.  The Nets' front office must certainly regret signing Humphries for two more years to the tune of 24$ million because thus far, they have yet to get a return on their investment. 

First Player of the Month:  Brook  Lopez

After two straight years of being sidelined with injuries, Brook Lopez is finally back on the court and has shown that his lengthy absence has not affected his play.  He has started the season in splendid form leading his team in scoring and despite the new additions, he has still managed to stay as the team primary option on the offensive end.  Lopez certainly has proven to his doubters shaking of the stigma that he nothing more that the reason for his success was because he was a good player.  If he continues with  his phenomenal play of the past month, Lopez will certainly guarantee himself his first selection on the Eastern Conference.  Certainly the Brooklyn Nets are happy that they chose to invest in him instead of futilely banging their heads trying to get Dwight Howard there, who has been currently been having a hard time with his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers as Lopez looks as if he will be the foundation of the franchise for years to come.


Thus far the inaugural season of the Brooklyn nets have been a resounding success entering their new home, the Barclays Center, to a full house of excited fans and unlike last season when they were in the previous home, they have given their new fans something to cheer for.  Instead of moving to their old home with the same pathetic lineup that only won 22 games last season, the Nets had a complete overhaul done gutting out their roster trading most of it to the Atlanta Hawks for one of the top five shooting guards in the League, Joe Johnson.  The Nets also decided to move on from the vain attempts to entice an unreliably indecisive Dwight Howard and decided in investing right at home signing Brook Lopez to a four year extension instead worth around 45$ million.  They ten rounded out the roster by signing the athletic veteran who has been a defensive stalwart and a monster on the boards for much of his career in Gerald Wallace.  The Nets' biggest move, however, was to secure their All Star point guard Deron Williams to a maximum extension giving Brooklyn a starting five that can rival the NBA at the cost of almost 300$ million dollars over the next five or so years.

Many raised their eyebrows when all these moves were made during the summer as the Nets not only wiped out all their cap space, but also put themselves over the luxury tax threshold in matter of days; however, it was nothing to Brooklyn, as the team had a strong financial backer who's first priority is winning above all else.  When Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov took over ownership of the team two years ago, he all but guaranteed that the Nets would not only contend for a playoff spots, but also be in the run for a championship within five years.  Many scoffed at the renegade Russian's bold proclamation, but three years into his reign as nets owner, he has already laid the foundation by recklessly opening his massive check book so his that GM, Billy King, can buy their pieces whom they needed to take the league by storm.  From that moment on, it was not just about slowly building a playoff team over time--from day one, the only objective for this new Brooklyn team was Championship or bust.  That's probably made fans in Brooklyn  so excited for their new arrival, because they knew that they would have to endure long losing season as their predecessors did, but will have a team ready to win right of the bat.

Thus far, the denizens of the New York borough  that has been the inspiration of so many rap songs, have been pleased with their new team as it has lived up to their expectations thus far.  After passing over a slight bump in the round losing two of their first three games, the Nets went on a tear winning their next five games.  They would then hit another small bump in the road losing to the Los Angeles Lakers (11/20/2012) and the Golden State Warriors (11/21/2012) on the road, but bounced back yet again winning their next five games to finish the month of November off in style. To top it all off, the Nets even won Big Apple bragging rights by downing their divisional and inner city rival, the New York Knicks, in their first meeting of the season (11/26/2012).  They cemented their stature by by handily stomping on the previous division leaders who have essentially held the Atlantic crown for the past five years, the Boston Celtics twice thus far owning them on their home court (11/15/2012) and on the road as well (11/28/2012).

So far coach Avery Johnson has been secure in his position as coach as the Nets have managed to live up to expectations thus keeping him employed; however, despite their successful debut, there have been a few red flags that have popped up during the Nets' debut.  One reg flag would most certainly be found on the defensive end where the Nets, despite having such deep and talented roster, have allowed their opponents to shoot close to .460 from the field which ranks near bottom in the NBA.  Their rebounding has not been that impressive either as the Nets possess such beasts on the boards as George Wallace, Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche added alongside the talent of Brook Lopez, but just only rank eighteenth in the league in rebounds per game.  With such elite talent, one would expect the Nets to be among the teams in the league on the boards, at the least be amongst the top five.  Unfortunately, the Nets currently just rest nearly at the bottom of the league and it has not been because of their shooting because that too has been rather pedestrian to say the least as they shoot just slightly worse than their opponents at a little under .450 percent and rank near the bottom of the league in scoring--considering the offensive firepower that team possesses.        
All these negative factors point to the unfortunate realization that this 10-4 start will blow up in smoke unless the Nets start increasing the efforts on the boards and raising their level of intensity on the defensive end.  Although it has yet to overtly show coming into December, the Nets have been playing rather mediocre to say the least considering the talent on the roster and the huge 300$ million investment put forth by their owner.  Thus far, Brooklyn has been fortunate that the teams they have faced have been sub par at best and they have managed to win the games they were supposed to; however, once they start facing elite competition, their weakness will start to show and the whole house of cards will just topple down.  When that happens, it is not going to be pretty as their ruthless Russian billionaire owner watches closely to make sure that he gets the return that he expects from his one third of a billion dollar investment.  So if in the coming weeks the Nets start to slightly slip in the standings, expect heads will roll as there will be an even more brutal house cleaning that the mass disappearances and cleansing during the Stalinist era in Communist Russia.