Delayed reaction, and I’m still depressed

Posted on: December 29th, 2013 by Chris Hooker Comments
Jason Kidd yells at one of his 15 miserable basketball players. (AP)

Jason Kidd yells at one of his 15 miserable basketball players. (AP)

Hey.

Hey guys. What’s up?

Is anybody out there?

I have to say, you guys were pretty quiet yesterday during last nights Nets-Pacers game. I didn’t get any comments on the game grades following the loss, and your Twitter presence was, how do you say, not as loud as usual. Do you guys not like me? Do you miss Devin this much already?

I’m not a needy girlfriend, so I am going to assume the problem is the team and not me. You guys are fed up, and I am too. This is a team that I picked to win the title this year, and if you take out my team bias, then I at least thought they should be in the Eastern Conference Finals. And now, sitting at 10-20, they might not even make the eight-seed. It seems stupid to think about the playoff standings after 30 games, but when your team that was, at the very least, supposed to win more than the 49 games from last year, and is now already ten games below .500, it’s okay to start panicking. It’s okay to maybe not care as much as you did a month and a half ago.

It’s come to this. I’ve written on this topic before, but my brother and I are both diehard NBA fans. Kev is a Raptors fan, and I, of course, am a Nets fan. I’ll be the first to admit that I am just that––a fan–-and I think like fans think. I act like fans act. As someone who writes about sports for a living, I’m smart enough to know that I shouldn’t behave the way I do, but I can’t help it. I get nervous on game day. I have superstitions. If the team does well, I pick them to win it all. If they don’t, I exaggerate the opposite way. Covering my favorite teams isn’t healthy for me and it’s borderline impossible for me to remain objective.

Nobody gets this more than my family. After graduating from college in May, I lived at home until about a week ago, so my parents saw my reactions to all the things the Nets did this summer, and then added it in with what they’ve learned about me from the past 23 years.

They can roll their eyes when I say things like: “Who is going to be the Finals MVP when the Nets win the title? Lopez? D-Will?” but they know it’ll never go away.

I guess my point here is that I’m with you. I’m as pissed off as you are. I feel the same sense of anger and confusion that you do. I’m not a better fan or worse fan. I am at your level and we are all in this together.

All summer long, I bragged to my family that my NBA team was going to win it all. I said to Kevin that while the Nets were getting rings, the Raptors would be riggin’ for Wiggins. And in no time at all, the tables completely turned.

His Raptors lead the division, and my Nets are in the basement. And neither team is particularly good.

Last night, Kevin and I were watching Nets-Pacers together. And Brooklyn held it together for the first half. They played excellent defense. Pierce was hitting everything. FEARZA was a thing for a minute. Even though they finished the half down two, it looked like things were going to bounce our way.

Then came the second half.

“How are the Nets going to blow this one?” Kevin asked me during the halftime show. And when they did––by loosening up their defense, missing shots that were previously going in, and, a tempo led by the $220 million dollar men Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, played as if it was a pickup game against the Livonia Junior Bulldogs.

Here are some things I know.

I know that in the summer, I thought that the Nets would have the deepest team in the league. I know that I thought that while the starting five was the most talented in recent NBA memory, that they might struggle with injuries––struggle, as in, it would be a pain in the butt for a few games, but ultimately, it’d be fine––and they might restrict KG’s minutes.

I know that KG and Pierce have lost a step. I know that Pierce looks like he hates it in Brooklyn. I know that when Pierce first got introduced, I thought it might take him a while to warm up to being in not-Boston, but he hasn’t. I know that KG is still intense, but I also know that intensity isn’t fun when you can’t make a freaking jump shot.

I know that the Brook Lopez loss is a killer. I know that nobody appreciates Brook like Nets fans do, and it’s shocks me that the best big man in New York doesn’t get love like he should. Or should have.

I know that hindsight is 20/20, but I know that Jason Kidd was not the right choice of a coach for this team. I know now that coaching is way harder than we thought it was. But at the same time, I know exactly why they hired him and I know that nobody was going to bat an eye when it happened. I know that as a fan who grew up loving Jason Kidd more than any other basketball player, how could I question his return?

I know that the Nets are done. I know that the season isn’t over and I know that 30 games isn’t enough to see how good or bad a team is. But I know that it is for this team in particular. 30 games or 200 games or five games, the Nets are nowhere near as good as the Pacers. And I know that is not a good sign for my title prediction.

I know that the Nets are unable, or unwilling, to make second half adjustments. And I know that is a problem that falls on the shoulders of Jason Kidd.

Here are some things I don’t know.

I don’t know why Deron Williams and Joe Johnson were terrible last night. I don’t know if that Woj report is true, or if last night’s game was related to it. I don’t know why the basketball gods hate Brook Lopez.

I don’t know what would’ve happened if you took this full, healthy roster and ran them under George Karl. But I also don’t know what would’ve happened if you took last year’s team and had Jason Kidd coach them.

I don’t know who to blame. But I also don’t know who not to.

Sigh.

Comments

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