The Right Way of Building the Nets

Billy King
Billy King (AP)
Billy King (AP)
Billy King (AP)

They say you can’t rebuild here, as New Yorkers demand instant results and a winner. They don’t have the patience to endure a potentially long and painful process. It’s not that they want it now, but yesterday.

This misconception has been plaguing New York sports teams for what seems like an eternity. It’s a big reason why the Brooklyn Nets ended up in the situation they are currently in.

It’s easy to see why the Nets’ brass felt the need to put together a star-studded roster when they relocated from the Garden State to Brooklyn. New to Manhattan’s outer borough, there needed to be a buzz and certain quality about the new team in town. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

The irony is, it seems as if there’s more excitement moving ahead with the “youth movement” than in previous years. This is the case even with the prospect of the Nets experiencing their fair share of losing.

Why is this so? Perhaps sports organizations don’t give their fans enough credit. Yes, everyone wants a winner but sports are an escape from the daily grind and having an emotional connection with a team and its players is sometimes overlooked. It’s the reason why fans grow attached to the “homegrown” players and view them as “their guy” over the mercenary who was brought in. He’s the one who they’ve seen develop before their very own eyes and experienced the good and bad moments with.

When it comes to these Nets, revisionist history can be somewhat frustrating. Never mind the Boston deal, suppose the Deron Williams or Gerald Wallace trades never took place and those future draft picks were used to build around the young frontline of Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors. Could Devin Harris have served as a viable placeholder until a point guard such as Brandon Knight, Damian Lillard, or Kemba Walker was ready to take the reigns? Could Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes been that wing player to complement the Lopez-Favors core down low?

Hindsight is always 20/20, but it is just disappointing to look back now and realize that this Nets team could’ve been built the right way from the start with the top talent the draft had to offer. Surely they would’ve taken their lumps, but as the team grew so would the Brooklyn fan base. That’s what sports are all about…growing with your team.

In life you learn from your mistakes and it appears now that the Nets have a philosophy in place to build a roster the right way. Unfortunately, they won’t have the luxury of doing so with lottery talent in the immediate future, therefore player development and luck will hopefully factor in. Typically second round picks and undrafted players are crapshoots, so for every one that you hit on there will be several that don’t pan out.

It may not happen in a New York minute but sometimes the journey is just as exciting as the destination.

Just remember Nets fans, stay patient!