I tried to think of some smart title to talk about the woeful Nets aka the NBA’s church league all-stars. Then I realized the record really speaks for itself. With last night’s thrashing at the hands of the Mavs the Nets set the new NBA record for the worst start in league history.
Eighteen games, No W’s. Allow that sink in.
The worst part about this is these cats are actually playing hard for the most part. Yet they develop new and innovative ways to take L’s. They’ve gotten outscored by about 11 points on average, lost four games by a one-possession lead and went almost three weeks with only three active bench players. Outside of Devin Harris and maybe Brook Lopez, the talent pool is dryer than NFL on CBS. It was all good just a year ago even with a 34-48 finish. So what happened?
With all things considered you have to point the finger at Jersey’s shady management: namely current owner Bruce Ratner. The real estate tycoon bought the team with sideways intentions. He didn’t bat an eye when the team sent Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson away: a Hall of Famer, a perennial all-star and a competent small forward. The Kidd trade was the only one that made sense as he wanted to leave and they got Harris in return. The others involved the Nets receiving cash considerations, garbage to mediocre-level players and some IHOP coupons. Hardly fair trades if you ask me.
Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe, the Nets’ President and GM respectively, let all this happen under their watch. Thorn was instrumental in crafting Jersey’s roster during their back to back title runs and more importantly drafted Michael Jordan. The latter can be considered as a gimme what with Portland drafting Sam Bowie in all their wisdom. Still it’s not like he’s clueless when it comes to developing a squad. As Denver’s former GM, Kiki drafted Carmelo Anthony (another gimme considering Joe Dumars picked Darko), signed George Karl and started the framework for Denver’s return to relevance. You’d think that Jersey would still have a half decent squad with these cats at the helm. But it looks like lobotomies are all the rage in Jersey’s front office. Either that or Bruce had them dangling upside down over the 59th St. bridge à la Nino Brown.
Meanwhile The Rat has been hemorrhaging the little funds he has left to move the Nets to Brooklyn. He’s even willing to hand the team over to some suspicious looking Russian billionaire just to see his makeshift plan come to fruition. It’s obvious this dude could give a damn about the team. Then again you could say the same thing about Jersey’s non-existent fan base.
The Nets are in development everywhere but the court. The 2010 draft lottery is one of the few high notes left for this sorry franchise. Plus, they’ll have more cap space than any other team in 2010: a critical summer for free agency starring LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh among other stars. I’m not sold on seeing any of these guys come here unless MC Hammer sits at the negotiating table. Instead, I’ll be on standby until the front office finds a way to screw up another golden opportunity. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if they went 0-20 even if Kiki will step in as the new coach. Then again I wouldn’t be surprised if Latrell Sprewell, or worse yet Isaiah Rider, found their way back in the league via New Jersey Drive this year.
A terrible squad paired with wack management and an uncertain future. Now I know what it feels like to be a Lions fan. If you excuse me I’m gonna seek guidance from LC on how to cope when your team is trash.