Doomsday is over… the season will start Christmas Day, and the Nets are sure to endure a back-to-back-to-back soon after. But with just 66 games left in New Jersey — ever — we pondered a bit about what difference that makes to the Nets.
1) Shortened season: Good or bad for the Nets?
Justin DeFeo: Bad. A short training camp and a larger game load in a shorter amount of time will benefit teams that have had their core together for longer, and also teams that have good depth to withstand injuries and fatigue. The Nets’ best player has only played 12 games with the rest of the crew, and the team doesn’t have a considerable amount of depth.
Sandy Dover: I don’t think it matters a great deal because of the lack of prodigious talent on the roster, but for the sake of argument, I’ll say bad. There was some momentum and minor chemistry developing when Deron Williams finally got settled in New Jersey, but then he had his wrist problems, and the rotation got funny. Having a proper training camp and offseason to train together and settle the roster would significantly benefit the Nets.
Mark Ginocchio: I say bad. I still have visions of 1999 dancing in my head, when the Nets looked great on paper but got off to an awful start and never had the time to get things going in the right direction. I imagine there’s going to be a lot of new faces on this roster and if they don’t gel, D-Will may be a goner.
2) What Net benefits most from the shortened season?
Justin DeFeo: Deron Williams, for the simple fact that Williams should be in relative “game-shape” and used to the rigors that he’s going to face in the shortened season. With his wrist seemingly healthy, Deron is primed to have a strong season amid distractions regarding his future in the league.
Sandy Dover: Brook Lopez, whose focus has been iffy on the court, would benefit from a shortened season. He needs to be engaged more, and less games means more urgency for him. Deron Williams also benefits; as a star, he expends the most energy and having a fresher game-changer means that he can change more games more often.
Mark Ginocchio: Brook Lopez. He got stronger as the season went on last year so I would imagine now that mono is fully in the rear view mirror that he’ll put together an even better season in only 66 games.
3) 66 games coming… Do the Nets win 33?
Justin DeFeo I’ll say push; the Nets finish the season 33-33 for a .500 record. All things considered, I would dub that season a success for the Nets, especially in a shortened season where any type of extended winning (or losing) streak could dramatically effect a team’s playoff standing and/or record.
Sandy Dover: The Nets will win 30 games. That’s it, I think, barring some more positive shake-ups. They have good potential and they’re capable of a nice run, but I do have my doubts. It’s possible that they win 35 games, but I don’t see that happening. 30 games will be good for their confidence, percentage-wise, if they can reach that.
Mark Ginocchio: I think .500 is totally feasible and realistic, provided the team invests in some quality frontcourt players during free agency. But will .500 convince Deron to stay?