The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders. There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.
With a move across the Hudson, new arena and logo, and remade roster; the now Brooklyn Nets’ much anticipated makeover is complete. With all the money they spent this off-season, the team will undoubtedly be one of the most improved teams in the NBA but will it be enough for the franchise to compete for the Eastern Conference title?
2011-12: 22-44, 12th in Eastern Conference
Predicted EC Finish: 3rd
Projected Depth Chart:
C: Brook Lopez/Reggie Evans
PF: Kris Humphries/Mirza Teletovic/Andray Blatche
SF: Gerald Wallace/Josh Childress/Jerry Stackhouse/Tornike Shengeila
SG: Joe Johnson/Marshon Brooks/Keith Bogans
PG: Deron Williams/C.J. Watson/Tyshawn Taylor
Brooklyn’s off-season was: makin’ it rain. By re-signing Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez, and acquiring Joe Johnson, Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov dropped approximately $312 million this off-season on five players. When you are a Russian ka-jillionaire, you can afford to drop that type of paper. While they make the team much more competitive in the Eastern Conference, were they smart investments though? Probably not.
I’m not sure Williams is a max contract player. Johnson has one of the worst, if not the worst contract in the league ($89 million guaranteed over the next four years? No thanks.) Lopez’s max contract is laughable. I can’t argue with the Humphries and Wallace deals since they signed reasonable extensions. Brooklyn did their best to fill the roster adding veterans like Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche, Josh Childress, C.J. Watson, Jerry Stackhouse, and Keith Bogans while signing Euro forward Mirza Teletovic.
2012-2013 will be a success if: the starters earn their money. Outside of the Lakers and Thunder, there is no better starting five in the NBA than what Brooklyn puts on the floor. It will be interesting to see how Johnson handles being the second banana to D-Will after being the number one option in Atlanta the past several years. Wallace and Humphries won’t need to score a ton and Lopez is a solid third/maybe fourth option.
A big x-factor will be the bench where MarShon Brooks and Evans are really the only proven commodities. Teletovic should be a solid contributor assuming he makes a smooth transition to the NBA which is always a concern for Euro talents. Getting bounce back years from Blatche, Childress, and Watson wouldn’t hurt either.
2012-2013 will be a disappointment if: the Nets are one-and-done in the playoffs. Anytime you invest that massive amount of money into your starting five, big things are expected to follow. Even though it is year one of the new age Nets, simply making the postseason will not be enough to call this season a success. Brooklyn has a star point guard, scoring two guard, versatile small forward, a power forward that is relentless on the boards, and big man who can score the basketball down low. In an Eastern Conference that is wide open after the defending champion Heat, Brooklyn has to become a major player right away.
Looking ahead to next summer: The Nets’ salary for next season is already $89 million so barring a major trade with one of their big five, not much will change. Brooklyn will be able to use their mid-level exception to try to add role players but the off-season won’t be anywhere near as active or expensive as this past summer.
OTHER NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS:
#4 New York Knicks
#5 Indiana Pacers
#6 Philadelphia 76ers
#7 Chicago Bulls
#8 Toronto Raptors
#9 Milwaukee Bucks
#10 Detroit Pistons
#11 Atlanta Hawks
#12 Cleveland Cavaliers
#13 Orlando Magic
#14 Washington Wizards
#15 Charlotte Bobcats
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)