Ho-hum, another elite team. At least there’s really no doubt what will happen anymore. The Nets will lose, but, thankfully, it’s because they’re supposed to lose to teams like San Antonio, the model NBA Franchise. The Spurs are well-coached, rebuilt through the draft and have kept their core around since they joined the league. Jason Kidd is not Greg Popovich. Tim Duncan has aged far better than Kevin Garnett.
Tonight, just like Indiana, there is very little hope of a Brooklyn win. San Antonio’s fluid offense will tear apart the shoddy, duct-tape defense the Nets have been employing as of late. Deron Williams hasn’t been playing like a max contract player and, hey, did you hear? Brook Lopez is having season-ending foot surgery on January 4th.
Man, I feel like I’m going through the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief– though it’s hard to tell if this is the anger or acceptance stage.
The Brooklyn Nets stink right now.
The BK Game crew breaks it down further in a special New Year’s Eve edition of the Roundtable:
1. Who wins the PG matchup between Tony Parker and Deron Williams?
Chris Hooker: You know, I’ve been sort of negative recently, but I have a feeling that the Nets are going to pick up the pace a little tonight. The Spurs have the respect of everyone and I do think Kidd admires Poppovich. Brooklyn always talks about wanting to be the Spurs and I think they do mean it. I’m picking Deron over Tony tonight. Parker hasn’t been great and I just think D-Will is due for… something.
Ben Nadeau: Both point guards have been putting up rather mediocre stats for their usual pedigree, but Parker has a chance to tear this paper mache defense apart. I’ll tell you one thing: If the Nets play their half-hearted, jogging, lazy defense tonight, the off-ball movement and fluidity of a Spurs offense that has been running without fail for almost a decade will make your head spin. Parker is quick enough to stick to Williams, but will DWill stick to his promise to be more aggressive? Sadly, the Nets seem to be all talk this year, so who knows what Deron Williams we’ll see tonight. The Nets will need a classic performance from Williams in order to have a shot at all.
2. If he plays, what kind of impact do you see having Andrei Kirilenko having on this team?
Chris Hooker: I think he can mean a lot more than we think he can. He’s the Nets’ only wildcard. We don’t know what they have in him, and he’s the only one so far you can really say that about. If he can stay healthy, a Williams/Johnson/Pierce/Kirilenko/Garnett lineup can be very effective.
Ben Nadeau: I’m going to put my rain cloud away for just one second and say this: Andrei Kirilenko can change this team’s identity. For his entire career, AK47 has made a living on creating havoc and having his hands everywhere. Kirilenko isn’t a player to take entire games off and his hustle and grittiness play-style may just be the jump start the Nets need to save the season. It’s easier to play lazy if everyone else is– but if everyone sees AK47 selling out for every loose ball like Crash did last year, well, things will not be as bad.
3. Should the Nets be looking forward towards 2014? Will it be any better there?
Chris Hooker: It can’t get any worse, and really, it can only get better. It all depends in how much faith you have in Kidd getting better, Deron getting stronger, Kirlilenko getting healthier and KG/Pierce getting now older. Time will tell if they do.
Ben Nadeau: Annnnnnnd we’re back. Not really– what would there be?
Really, I’ll wait.
I was chatting this weekend with a a few friends and the topic of the the guaranteed fourth seed for winning the Atlantic Division came up. It’s true, at this rate, the Brooklyn Nets could go 30-52 and somehow will the division and get the fourth seed.
On one hand, you say: “Great, so we’ll just lose to Washington in the first round instead of Indiana.”
On the other hand, however, you could say: “If we get healthy and Deron starts playing strong and Kidd somehow gets the brains and Pierce and KG steal the hearts of young, wild animals and Mirza turns into the next Larry Bird and AK47 revolutionizes the team and Alan Anderson turns into the James Posey the Celtics had in 2007 and Brook Lopez comes back from the dead… hey! We might have a shot at this!”
I think I’m back to denial or bargaining on the five stages of grief. I’ll see myself out.
Chris Hooker: Like I said earlier, I think the Nets really respect the Spurs and will play them tough. Spurs by 5.
Ben Nadeau: Spurs 95, Nets 84