Even before the season got started, the New Jersey Nets were already
appointed as the worst team in the league. The oddmakers had them
listed to win just 27/28 games but how bad it would turn to be?
Here is their monthly record last season:
Yes, they really started the season by losing 18 consecutive games
and went to the all star break with the brutally dismal record of 4
wins and 48 LOSSES!
Excluding Brook Lopez, everything else was just plain and simple
horrible! Head Coach Lawrence Frank couldn’t win a single game and then
Del Harris didn’t make any difference at all. When you have a pretty
bad and unbalanced roster and your best players (again Brook Lopez
apart) struggle to remain healthy, then you are in trouble in a
professional league and the Nets had to pay the price for that.
They were by far the worst offensive team in the league with the
month of November being (I would say) a historical awful month in which
the Nets averaged 83 points per game!
The Nets were a young team with some potential, but they couldn’t
develop at all as their mental toughness was completely ruined apart
early on the season with the historical losing streak to open the
2009/10 Advanced Stats:
Pace 25th 94.1
Offense 30th 98.3
Defense 25th 108.0
Rebounds 27th -4.30
Projected Depth Chart:
PG: Devin Harris, Jordan Farmar, Ben Uzoh
SG: Terrence Williams, Anthony Morrow
SF: Travis Outlaw, Stephen Graham, Quinton Ross, Damion James
PF: Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, Kris Humphries
C: Brook Lopez, Joe Smith, Johan Petro, Brian Zoubek
As bad as the Nets were last season and “bad” is actually a kind
word, the Nets have a bright future in front of him if correctly
They will move to a brand new arena in Brooklyn in the future; they
have a new owner who by the way is a billionaire and he isn’t afraid to
spend some money in order to improve the team and they also have a
young “big man” to build a franchise: a rarity in these days in the
Last season the Nets failed to succeed in every single aspect of the
game. Not only they didn’t have the talent and the proper level to hang
around against other teams in the league, but also mentally, as it
looked like they gave up pretty quickly in the games.
To fight against such mental weaknesses the Nets hired the best
possible coach available in the market: “The Little General” Avery
I am pretty sure that Avery Johnson won’t be able to keep up his
current 73.5% winning record as a head coach in the NBA, but we can be
assure that the Nets won’t be lethargic on the court like they were
The Nets needed to make some changes and so, in this offseason they
made several moves: they drafted big young player Derrick Favors with
the 3rd overall pick; they traded for PF Troy Smith and they added in
the free agency period Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw and some others
veterans to improve in the present. Also they were reportedly interested
in Carmelo Anthony, but it looks like the potential trade has cooled
Brook Lopez is right now one of the league’s most effective centers.
Last season he averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and he’s
only 22 years old. He is part integral of the Nets plans for the
present and future, but will he really develop into a true star in this
league? The Nets need badly a leader; a go-to player and they hope
Lopez can be that guy. Being merely good isn’t enough because players
like David Lee, Andrew Bogut or Andrea Bargnani are good players, but
they can’t be tagged as franchise players like Lopez is looking forward
to be. In many ways this is a key year for Lopez as he need to step up
and lead the team on and off the court or else the Nets will be
looking for other option to build around the franchise.
Devin Harris was probably the player that has most disappointed last
season. Without Vince Carter, Harris would have to carry his team and
be a true floor general… he failed the mission! I remember that just a
couple of seasons ago, he went to the All Star weekend, so the Nets were
pretty high on him. However his numbers and overall play decreased in
every single way: points (16.9), field goal percentage (40.3%),
assists, rebounds (3.2) and even steals per game (1.20). His defense
wasn’t good enough and down the stretch he failed to make the best
decisions. Bottom line, it was a season to forget and Harris need badly
to bounce back this season. The good news is that he will be coach by a
coach that already knows him from his days in Dallas, so Harris has
some advantage early on the season.
For the Shooting Guard position the Nets have two young players to share minutes in Terrence Williams and Anthony Morrow.
Williams had a very rocky rookie season last season with a lot of
ups and downs. Like the team, he started horrible the season by
shooting just 35% from the field in the first two months of
competition. In a team that lacked confidence he was lost in the court
and his behavior off the court wasn’t the best by complaining via
twitter the organization. He was dogged after such comments and
received more chances to play only late in the season. However he
responded well and closed out the season averaging 14 points, 7
rebounds and 6 assists per game! Also in this Summer League, he was
terrific and we are dealing with a pretty confident young player coming
for this season, something he wasn’t last season. On the other side,
Morrow will be the sharpshooter of this team. He has an unbelievable
accuracy from the long range, but he needs to develop in others areas.
By playing in Golden State for Don Nelson didn’t help him to improve
his defense, but now playing for Avery Johnson, he will certainly will
or he won’t play.
The “biggest” free agent player that the Nets were able to sign in
this offseason was… Travis Outlaw, who will be starter at Small Forward
by almost default for a role that he really never had the chance to
play. He already has played in 400 games during his career and started
in just 32 of them, so being the premium starter in a team will be
something new for him. The Nets offered him a five-year deal at $7
million per year, is he good enough to earn such paycheck?
The Nets drafted Derrick Favors with the third overall pick, but
they didn’t want him to be forced to play major minutes in his rookie
season and so they traded for Power Forward Troy Smith. Smith is
entering his final year of the contract (huge contract by the way), but
the fact is that he has been a pretty good consistent player in the
last years. He has been labeled as being a soft player, but then how
you explain his terrific rebounding numbers (double digit numbers in
the last 2 years)?
The combination Lopez and Smith has the potential to work pretty
well because Smith is a pretty good long range shooter despite his size –
his career 40% three-point shooting says it all about him and with
Lopez working down low the post, Smith will be able to torch the
opponents from the outside. In my opinion the Nets have an underrated
frontcourt for this season, as if they can find the proper chemistry,
they will be just fine.
To complete the team, the Nets added some more free agents to the
roster. Point Guard Jordan Farmar will have the chance to play more
minutes than in his days with the Lakers and they have also added some
veteran players to give more depth in the frontcourt in Joe Smith, Johan
Petro and Stephen Graham.
We just can’t expect the Nets to be in the playoff conversation this
season, instead the word “development” is way more important for them.
Head Coach Avery Johnson will assure that his team will work hard every
night and if their young guns grow fast then they can pull some upsets
during the season.