Game 7 Aftermath: Sunday Roundtable

Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez

In a disappointing end to the Nets’ first season in Brooklyn, our writers reflect on what was.

1. Brooklyn’s inaugural season was ___?

  • Justin DeFeo: Surprisingly anticlimactic? The “hippest” team in the league created a lot of buzz heading into this season with their black and white colors and brand new arena, but when the games started, this Nets was consistently inconsistent and never established a two identity. 89 games later and I’m still not sure I’ve seen this team play their best game and that is a statement in and of itself.
  • Benjamin Nadeau: An absolute, 100% bonafide success. For everything, from Blatche to Avery Johnson, to lingering injuries and beyond — the Nets made the playoffs. It’s something we haven’t felt or had in the last six years. For that alone, it is undoubtedly a success. We knew we weren’t going to contend. Winning a series, obviously, would have been nice; but anybody who doesn’t think this season was a success is dead wrong.
  • John Hood: Brooklyn’s inaugural season was a definite success. Mikhail Prokhorov noted at the beginning of the year that anything less than a conference finals appearance would be a failure. While those were lofty expectations, the Nets in one season turned a terrible team into a team that expects to win. The complete re-branding of the Nets was a total success. Fans last night expected a win and that’s something that hasn’t been with the Nets in years.


2. To improve next year, the Nets ___?

  • DeFeo:to hire a coach and establish a culture. Strapped for cash, the Nets can’t make wholesale changes to their roster (nor do they need to) but the one spot they can change is a coaching one. P.J. did a great job coming and midseason and righting the ship, but the Nets are considered league wide to be “behind the times” at both offense and defense. A new coach that can improve upon that can elevate this roster beyond the first round.
  • Nadeau: Consistency. That starts with the coach– get one we arere going to be satisfied with for a long time. And, we need more shooters. One of the only reasons we were in Game 7 near the end was because of Wallace’s threes– something he’s struggled with all year. I want the Nets to bring back Anthony Morrow more than anything in the entire world. Watching Watson play late minutes became my kryptonite. And it goes without saying that a two-way, consistent player from the PF spot would be nice, but my expectations aren’t unreasonably high here. I’d like for Blatche to return, maybe start, but his defense killed us tonight. Time to see if he goes for the cash or stays loyal to the one team that gave him a chance.
  • Hood: To improve next year, the Nets need to bring in a defensive stopper at the power forward position and a three-point specialist. Bringing in a Josh Smith-type would put the Nets at an advantage both offensively and defensively. The lack of floor spacing would be solved there and by bringing someone like former Net Anthony Morrow to shoot three-pointers can make the Nets offensive unstoppable at times.


3. The Nets’ MVP was ___?

  • DeFeo:Joe Johnson. Just kidding. (too soon?) Deron Williams. And that is no knock on Brook Lopez who had a magnificent season, but he could slap up as many 20 point, eight rebound games as he’d like. The reality is this Nets team’s ceiling was as high as Deron could take us. The Nets were at their best when he was playing well.
  • Nadeau: Brook Lopez. I really don’t think I need to say anything else. Carried the team when Williams struggled and the team bombed through the end of Johnson’s tenure. He shut up the haters and made his first All-Star game. He averaged 3.4 blocks in the playoffs and ALMOST willed a despondent Nets team through to the second round. The strides Lopez made this year make me very proud and optimistic about our future. This is Deron Williams’ team for now, but we will only go as far as Brook takes us.
  • Hood: The Nets’ MVP was hands down Brook Lopez. Lopez was the only consistent and constant player for the Nets all season long. His ability to score at will at the basket carried the Nets throughout the year. This time next year, Lopez can even be the top center in the NBA should his rebounding numbers improve.