As the Nets get set to end another losing season tonight, the always excellent Al Iannazzone notices some major differences between how last year’s 12-win campaign ended and this year’s 24-win season:
First of all, the team didn’t have a clean-up day last year. The players left Miami after the finale and went their separate ways after one of the most dysfunctional and frustrating seasons in NBA history. Many of them didn’t fly back to New Jersey. They couldn’t wait to get rid of last season.
This season, everyone is flying back from Chicago, doing their exit interviews Thursday with general manager Billy King and coach Avery Johnson, and then heading out.
It’s been a frustrating year, but it hasn’t been dysfunctional, and these things are certain: the Nets have direction, unlike last year, and many of their players want to stick around.
I think even the most optimistic Nets fans might have lost sight of these facts due to the level of basketball being played the past few weeks, but I’m happy Al, a beat writer who along with Fred Kerber probably knows this team better than anyone, wrote this column. He’s right. Things are different. Though I also think the Nets front office should be very discerning about who they bring back this summer. It’s one thing to want to play for the Nets. It’s another to actually be a key part of a winning team. I’m not so sure guys like Stephen Graham, Sasha Vujacic, Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright (among the Nets’ expirings) are those players to build around.