It didn’t come to them exactly as planned or in the form they would have most preferred, but they got what they angled for and that was a shot at the champs. The Nets were constructed to compete against the Miami Heat, even acquiring noted Heat antagonists Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to join their cause. The duo was supposed to be the shot in the arm that provided the experience, professionalism, personality and heart anybody with a pulse could see the Nets lacked.
It almost worked, too.
For all the “we aren’t afraid of them” talk and the overemphasis on their regular season sweep of Miami, the Nets still suffered the same fate as other Heat playoff foes in recent years. Now it’s time to reflect.
Brooklyn endured a season befitting a Greek tragedy.
From being the co-laughing stocks of the league with their crosstown rivals in the season’s first two months, to reassigning an assistant coach they so heavily sought to remedial daily reports (ah, who could forget that amazing Lawrence Frank parody blog), there was a lot happening on — and off — the court.
There was also the mercurial process the new life blood from Boston took in shaking the green off to get fully acclimated to the foreign situation in Brooklyn. There was the season-ending injury to Brook Lopez, the questions about Kidd being fired then Kidd winning coach of the month…twice.
The Nets jettisoned “The Jet” Jason Terry, acquired Marcus Thornton, played small, moved KG back to center and became a team with an identity of sorts. They thrived in a 19-game regular season stretch in which KG sat due to injury. That stretch gave them the opportunity to develop rookie center Mason Plumlee only to forget about him in the playoffs.
This season for the Nets truly had it all.
Brooklyn broke the bank as if they played the lottery’s mega millions with a payroll in excess of $102 million this season. That payroll positions them to pay the highest luxury tax ever recorded in the Association. At least they are first in something, right? OK, too soon.
They put all of their eggs in one basket hoping to catch lighting in a bottle and instead caught blisters from the Heat who dispatched them in five games. Pierce and Garnett weren’t enough and were forced to play larger roles in light of Lopez’s injury and Deron Williams’ seemingly diminished skills and confidence. Seriously has anyone aged and become more destitute on the court due to injury than Williams in recent years?
So is there hope in an equivocal future?