The Brooklyn Nets were expected to be a championship caliber team, but instead they have looked every bit like the oldest team in the NBA as they have failed to stay healthy, they can’t keep up with younger, faster teams, they really aren’t playing with consistent effort, and the coaching abilities by rookie head coach Jason Kidd have been painfully obvious so far.
They need a win in the most desperate way. Everything is looking very bad for them right now, that microscope that they invited on them with the $190 million payroll and championship talk is just going to get more intense and a win would take some of the pressure off them. The problem is, though, that things aren’t going to get easier for them.
The Nets announced this morning that Brook Lopez (ankle), Deron Williams (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Jason Terry (knee) will all be out of action Friday night. Losing four players is tough on any team, but the Nets have looked especially bad since Lopez and D-Will have gone out.
Curiously, though, Jason Kidd seems to think things are getting better.
“Every time we take the floor I feel like this is the moment it’s going to turn,” Kidd told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “Because guys have done everything we’ve asked, and gotten better each time we’ve taken the floor.”
That’s just a false statement.
The Nets had a tough, but close, loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on the first night and then a big win against the Heat. Jason Kidd wasn’t even there for those so maybe that’s why he thinks things are getting better. Recently, though, they have dropped six of seven including an incredibly disappointing home loss to the Trail Blazers just two games ago where they disappeared on the court during the game and then from the locker room where they avoided answering to reporters.
Tonight’s game does not look especially promising either as they have struggled in the paint without Lopez and now have to go up against Minnesota’s Kevin Love. That’s a scary prospect considering that they were just outscored in the paint 52-34 and out-rebounded 17-6 on the offensive glass against a weak Bobcats team. Love has also played like a MVP with 25.4 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per 36 minutes with an effective field goal percentage of 58.7.
Then throw in the fact that they haven’t been able to guard small, quick guards and Ricky Rubio falls perfectly into that category. The one thing that they do have going for them is that Rubio has struggled to score with a 38.1 eFG% so perhaps he won’t be able to pick them apart like, say, Victor Oladipo of the Magic did.
NOT BACK YET: Andrei Kirilenko has missed all but four games this year with his back problem. He told Tim Bontemps of the NY Post that he’s feeling better though, but that the team is taking it slow with him as he’s already had one setback.
“I’m very suspicious to give you any day [for a return date],” Kirilenko said. “If it’s my will, I would play now. I feel great. But looking back, and reinjuring and coming back with an injury, we want to give the full time the doctor said and get back slowly. … It’s difficult (to be patient) right now.”
NO URGENCY: While things have gotten bad, the Nets are still preaching patience. That’s from the players, the coach and management and ownership too.
“No,” General Manager Billy King told Bondy when he asked if there was a sense of urgency from him. “Like I said before it’s a long year. Yeah, we’d like to play a little better. Obviously, everybody would. It’s not just management. It’s ownership, it’s players, coaches. We’d all like to play better.”
At least they have that going for them because, at this stage, panicking is not going to help anyone.
WHAT A JOKE: Speaking of not panicking, the Knicks and J.R. Smith are in the same boat as the Nets are at 3-8, but unlike the Nets the Knicks are in full blown panic mode.
“We’re frustrated,” Smith told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com. “Like you say, it’s too early to panic, but me, personally, I’m panicking. I don’t like this.”
The reason why I bring this up is because “That Little Man”, a.k.a. Knicks owner James Dolan, made a laugher of a statement this week when he claimed that he is more patient than the Nets ownership is. Of course, this is the same guy that fired general manager Glen Grunwald just days before training camp started for no apparent reason at all. I’m sorry, but you can’t claim to be more patient than anybody when you make a stupid move like that just days before the season starts.