Nine Thoughts To Keep Your Spirits Up Heading Into The 2016-17 Nets Season
The opening of NBA training camp is nigh and with it comes a fresh set of expectations… and when it comes to the Brooklyn Nets, who have a total of, er, five holdover players from last year, ‘fresh’ is certainly the operative phrase. With their mixture of new faces and youth — and without control of their next two first round draft picks — hopes vacillate between being cautiously optimistic (‘They’ll surprise some people! They could be good!’) and about as high as Tipper Gore (suffice to say, not very). So with limited enthusiasm — that are results-based, at least — Nets fans might need a little cheering up and here are nine things that might help.
Jeremy Lin’s Hair
The best moment of the year might be when Jeremy Lin wanders onto the Barclays Center floor with a full head-scape picture of Dr. J dunking from the free-throw line carved into the back of his noggin. However, it’ll just top the time Lin strolls out with a model of his favorite childhood bicycle made out of braids atop his bonce, or the full-sized bust of Brook Lopez he has fashioned out of his silken locks. The one week where he goes full Steve-O and has his own face replicated in the back of his hair will also be pretty cool — mark that down on your calendars now. Either way; the Nets season as it relates to chronicling Lin’s hair: that’s going to be great. If Lin goes Super Saiyan by styling his hair spiky and dying it peroxide blonde — which I’ll be spending the next six months campaigning for on Twitter — we might as well just stop everything, because that’s it: we’re done.
Bojan was pretty awesome at the Olympics
After throwing up a lazy 25.3 points per game playing for Croatia in the Rio Olympics, fewer things this year would be cooler than Bojan turning into a straight gunslinger. If Bogdanovic can translate some of that success in Rio into his much more limited role with the Nets, the Croatian would be finally be fulfilling some of his ever-tantalizing NBA promise. Don’t forget, Bogdanovic shot 38.2% from three last year, had a very healthy effective FG% of 51.9%, and averaged 11.2 points in just a tick under 27 minutes a game. If Bogdanovic maintains some his summertime effectiveness and can get to the line a bit more — he attempted 9.3 free throws per game at Rio! — heading into his age-27 season, the Croatian would be primed for a surprisingly badass year.
Brook Lopez is worth the price of admission
Brook is still in or around the top five centers in the East, right? At the very least, he’s in the mix with Al Horford, Dwight Howard, Jonas Valanciunas, Hassan Whiteside, and Andre Drummond. He’s really good! So that’s something.
And did you see this at Nets Media Day yesterday? Never retire, Brook.
Oh watch me, watch me. #NetsMediaDay https://t.co/5RzcBNalNC
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 26, 2016
There are still plenty of bars on 5th Avenue… Also, Shake Shack
Never fear; no matter how good or bad this year may go, surrounding Barclays — on 5th Avenue, Fulton Street, Lafayette Ave, etc — there are more excellent bars than Deron Williams had excuses. And when you’re likely going to be drowning as many sorrows as Nets fans will be, well, that’s just smart business.
As for food, it’s not just Shake Shack that’s close to Barclays: it’s nosh central within a two or three block radius. Dude, you can get New York’s best mac and cheese, ridiculous pizza, vegan meals, BBQ, Cuban sandwiches that’ll melt your brain, and pho that’ll bring tears that are unrelated related to watching Jaylen Brown and wondering ‘what if’. Also, there’s even a Doughnut Plant and a Kith’s Treats! Do you hear me? Do you know what that means? A cereal bar — yes, it’s true, so run, don’t walk.
The young dudes are maybe OK…. and fun?
Caris; Rondae; Skilpatrick; Izzy W; ‘Kristaps’ McCullough: Brooklyn’s cadre of young dudes is a mix of kickass names, weird skill sets, gangly limbs, and intriguing potential. While they’ll likely make 2016-2017 as frustrating as they do entertaining, even just the (eventual) combination of LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson on the wings, let alone Skilpatrick and Izzy W’s undersized scoring chutzpah and McCullough’s freaky-long frame, will be like taking a puppy to a Drake pool party. It’ll be cute, it’ll be fun, but you’ll spend all your time worrying about when/if it’ll get stepped on. Anyway, if nothing else, they’re going to be a lot more fun than watching Joe Johnson plod around the three-point line for 26 minutes a game.
Imagining the sweet jet-ski backflips Prokhorov is practising somewhere
Hey, if we all have to sit through a season bereft of much winning, just give yourself a quick moment each day to live vicariously through a playboy billionaire Russian oligarch owner. It’s sweet, isn’t it?
Never let your dreams die, friends.
Sean Marks doesn’t appear quite as easily befuddled as Billy King
This ultimately means that the team we’ll be watching in November could very easily not be the same one on the court in March. Actually, it wouldn’t be a shock if Marks & Co. pull off a couple of those ‘damn, I-didn’t-see-that-coming’ moves throughout the season. And, y’know, when he does, the Nets likely won’t have been as comprehensively pantsed as they were while Billy King was in charge.
Even preemptively and hypothetically, that’s a nice emotion to feel.
This team is one worth rooting for
OK, disclaimer: I’m sure Deron Williams isn’t the worst person. I’m sure he’s nice to his family, perhaps even to other people he knows. Hell, his Dallas teammates don’t seem to hate him. But all I know is that Williams made it exceptionally hard to root for him during his time in Brooklyn. Heading into last year, it was clear the rest of the team was pretty damn OK with the thought of Williams being gone and so did most of Nets fans. Then, slowly, the Nets added players like Hollis-Jefferson and McCullough; now Greivis Vasquez, Lin, Whitehead, and more — simply put, this culture shift in Brooklyn has been one worth watching.
If nothing else, it’s nice to revel in the fact that this season will be another one sans that whiny, mopey man at point guard.
The Nets still have a 1st round draft pick next year
Sure, it will be Boston’s… but, y’know… At least they have one…