Until very recently if you were to type “Brooklyn” into Google, the first suggestions to pop up included “Brooklyn Bridge,” “Brooklyn Pizza,” and my favorite “Brooklyn Decker”.
However, the revamped Nets franchise has changed the narrative.
It’s hard to believe that the New Jersey Nets were once a flourishing franchise. Under the leadership of Jason Kidd, they had two consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
Mired in mediocrity for the majority of the past decade, however, the Nets were in need of a change. No franchise has been as immediately resurrected with such style.
Since Mikhail Prokhorov became the principal owner, this team made it be known that what had become the status quo in New Jersey would no longer fly. Minority owner Jay-Z helped to facilitate their move to Brooklyn and in doing so, both these men breathed new life into a previously stagnant franchise.
Last offseason they spent money purposefully and effectively. After the drama of Dwight Howard became too much for them to bear and perhaps amidst fears that Howard may not be fully healthy, the Nets moved decisively. They locked up a franchise point guard in Deron Williams to break in the Brooklyn era along with the versatile Gerald Wallace who was acquired in a trade last season.
They also bring back center Brook Lopez, who has been a quiet 17 ppg & 7.5 rpg for his career. Joe Johnson was brought in as a sharpshooter and a guy who can put up 30 points on any given night. Kris Humphries, Maurice Evans, Marshon Brooks and Jerry Stackhouse provide stability off the bench and it is not hard to see why this team might be the second best in the East this year.
So far, the Nets hold victories against the Knicks, Clippers and two against the Celtics. In particular, they have shown a phenomenal ability to play cohesively on both ends of the floor despite the lack of a rapport playing together (during most of Williams’ and Wallace’s time in New Jersey, Lopez was injured).
It helps that the players on this team complement each other perfectly, of course. Williams is the best all-around point guard in the NBA with his combination of passing, size, speed, strength and shooting. Wallace is a dynamic player who requires you to guard him on every spot on the floor.
That combo frees up open looks for Johnson, who doesn’t mind taking 20 shots. And all that brings the defense out to the perimeter, allowing Lopez and Humphries to get good position inside.
The Nets played Miami very tough down in their house before Miami pulled away late, and tonight’s game in Brooklyn against the Thunder will tell us plenty about their fortitude. The swagger in Brooklyn is a dangerous environment for any team to walk into. This team has also shown it can beat good teams on the road. Avery Johnson provides championship-level experience. They have a roster that should make a lot of noise in the East.
One thing is clear, Brooklyn has brought strut back to the Nets franchise.