Last Year’s Record: 34-48
Key Losses: Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Trust of the Fanbase, $25 Million
Key Additions: Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams, a scary Russian Billionaire, Ridiculous Marketing Decisions
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
This summer was a relaxing one for the Nets management. Team President Rod Thorn and General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe spent the summer in Sandy Hook, chasing girls in their Camaro while blasting Sugar Ray's Greatest Hits. Their blissful summer nights consisted of laying on the roof of the car, drinking warm beer, and discussing how small they were in the universe. Owner Bruce Ratner tried to start his own lemonade stand, but did not have enough money to buy one of those "LEMONADE" signs with the "E"s turned backwards. VP of Marketing Brett Yormark's summer was sponsored by Coca-Cola, Coppertone, and Stiletto's on Paterson Plank Road!
Also, Vince Carter was traded to Orlando. They have cap space for two max free agents in 2010. And there's a new Russian owner. Yeah I know - YAWN!
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
As Michael Scott once said, "My weaknesses are actually my strengths." It is very appropriate when describing this team. The Nets have a lot of youth, and a lot of cap space. Basically, the pieces are aligning for a serious run at the top free agents in the summer of 2010. The new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is now the richest owner in the NBA, which could help in the future as well.
As for the roster itself, they may be set for the future at two key positions, with Brook Lopez and Devin Harris manning the center and point guard roles. Courtney Lee showed some flashes with Orlando last season, and he, along with Keyon Dooling, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Skip To My Lou, will be asked to pick up the scoring load with the departure of Vince Carter. Terrence Williams is also getting some preseason buzz, as well.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
Basically, the front-court is abysmal. Simmons and Hayes should do a yeoman's job handling the small forward position, but the Nets lack a true power forward. Yi Jianlian is the best one on the roster, and he shot 38% from the field, played very poor defense, and was frequently benched in favor of Ryan Anderson (a key loss in the Vince Carter trade). Josh Boone lost all confidence last season, and has become a complete liability on offense. Rounding out this horrific trio is Sean Williams, whose off-court rap sheet is growing longer by the day (which I chronicled here). This is a roster hole you can drive a truck through.
Other issues lie in areas such as the team's lack of experience and poor defense. But, basically, with so many young players on the roster, you could hit the lottery or end up back in the lottery.
Off the basketball court, the ownership change may cause some friction in the head office. Both Rod Thorn and Lawrence Frank are in the final years of their respective contracts, and the Russian may seek to replace them. This lame duck status can negatively affect the team, as it did with Byron Scott in the 2003-04 season.
4. What are the goals for this team?
The Nets need to use this season to clearly see what their assets are truly worth. Clearly, Bobby Simmons, Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, Eduardo Najera, and Trenton Hassell will not be back next year. What can Terrence Williams achieve in the league? Is Courtney Lee the starting shooting guard for the team's future? Is Yi Jianlian or Chris Douglas-Roberts worthy of a roster spot? Are Josh Boone and Sean Williams just busts, or major busts? Is there room enough to keep valuable veterans like Keyon Dooling and Jarvis Hayes around?
The way I see it, wins are an added bonus for the team this season. If the Nets go through another season and still don't know the value of their prospects, it will be a failed season.
5. So, how the hell do you get to the games?
Glad you asked! In the past, I've ranted about how the public transportation to the arena sucks. In case you don't have time to read it, here it is in a nutshell: instead of having a bus that takes you directly from New York City to the Meadowlands (as they have in previous years), they have a train that takes you from New York to Secaucus instead - which is actually taking you FURTHER AWAY from the Meadowlands. Then, you have to take a bus from there. That's New fuckin Jersey for you. But have they made any changes this year?
Well, they sure did! They instituted a rail system that takes you from the Secaucus to the Meadowlands. Which, from what I can tell, does nothing to solve the problem that YOU ARE STILL FURTHER FROM THE FUCKING MEADOWLANDS THAN YOU WOULD BE IF YOU JUST TOOK A BUS LIKE THEY USED TO HAVE! Furthermore, this rail system completely and utterly failed during a recent concert they had in U2, with many people (including myself) waiting 2 hours to get back to New York (you can read about this here and here. But, this is all for naught, as they won't be running this train during Nets games anyway. So the current situation sucks, they instituted a new solution, which sucks, and then they aren't going to use it. I'm so glad I moved out of that shitty state so my taxes don't go to utter waste like this. Instead, I now pay for governors to buy prostitutes! I can't wait for the Nets to move to Brooklyn, so people can actually get to the games.
Projected Finish: Loyal readers know I suck at predictions. So, I am not going to put much thought into this. How about...say...24-58? That do anything for you?