Coast to Coast is my bi-weekly column here at Fansided. Each week I’ll be taking a look at an interesting topic in the NBA, and giving my own spin on it. Feel free to disagree, because you most likely will anyways.
The Brooklyn Nets came into the season with arguably the most talented starting 5. They had a lot of buzz surrounding them after they made a blockbuster trade, and expectations were high. On paper, everything fit perfectly. They had one of the best centers in the league, an elite point guard, two of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA, and a decent bench. Now, they have been terrible in the early part of the season, and it has people questioning whether this can work or not. Sound familiar?
The Lakers traded for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard last off-season, and when you team that up with Gasol and Kobe Bryant, it mirrors the situation for this year’s Nets team. The Lakers started out 1-4, fired Mike Brown, and had a season-long drama occur.
So, is the Brooklyn experiment a failure? Not so fast.
I’m here to tell you that they have a lot of problems. They lack a good offense. They are 19th in the league in assists, and they play a lot of iso ball. They are essentially in the bottom-half of the league in all offensive categories. So their problem is offensively right? Wrong. They are 26th in defense, giving up 104.9 points per 100 possessions. They aren’t giving up a lot of points because of their offensive pace, either.
So, can their problems be fixed? Yes, but it won’t be easy. When you look at last year’s Lakers, a lot of their problems revolved around injuries, and players not liking each other. The Nets like each other by all indications, but they do have a serious injury problem. Deron Williams has missed most of the season with an ankle injury, and he had to leave Wednesday night’s game because of it. He can be the key to fixing this stagnant offense. They are in serious need of ball movement, and he can provide that. Jason Kidd needs to construct an offense that mirrors the Clippers. Los Angeles puts the ball in Chris Paul’s hands more than anyone in the NBA, and it has led to beautiful basketball. The Nets have a lot of ball stoppers on their team in Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce. They need to get the ball flowing, and it could help them tremendously.
Jason Kidd is another issue that Brooklyn has to face. Although it’s too early to tell if he will be a good coach or not, the early signs don’t look good. Reports say that he is just a statue on the sideline, and guys like Lawrence Frank run the team. He needs to start asserting his ideals and try and improve the coaching aspect of the team. If things keep getting worse, there will need to be a scapegoat, and Kidd could be first in line.
If you remember, the Lakers finished the season 28-12 in their last 40, and ended up with 45 wins and a playoff berth. To write off a team before 20 games have been played is foolish. Kevin Garnett looks old, they look confused, and their are serious issues in Brooklyn, but time could be their best ally. The NBA is a game of runs, both in games and results. Brooklyn could start to get Deron Williams healthy, and go on a run of their own. They also have a weak division, and they could win it with a losing record.
I’m not saying that this team is good, and at 3-8, they are bad. I’m simply issuing caution. This team could be terrible and win 28 games, but they will probably be better than that. They need to stop playing iso basketball, and defense needs to be a big priority. Things seem bad in Brooklyn, but it’s too soon to call it a failure. The Lakers taught us that the paper doesn’t play the games, it’s about getting it done, and so far, they haven’t.