Friday, October 8, 2010

Preseason Unhype: My First Game Back

I've had basketball fever since August. Unfortunately, as you can tell by my lack of updates, there hasn't been anything that has really got my juices flowing. Sure, Rod Thorn left, Troy Murphy arrived, and Carmelo did a little of both, but nothing got my fired up. So, yesterday, I embarked on my first trip to the Prudential Center to see the Nets hoop it up.

They are the view from my seats. This is the 16th year that my family have purchased some type of season ticket plan (usually a 10 game package or half-season tickets), and this is the closest we have sat. It is perfect "storming the court if there is a big fight" distance. Needless to say, I am pumped to sit here this year.

Everyone has praised the Prudential Center as a huge improvement over the Izod Center, and usually hit the same points - nicer seating, better food, easier to get to, etc. However, the thing I noticed and loved was the types of fans that came to this game. Now, I'm crossing my fingers and hope I don't jinx it when I write this - but the Nets might have a good crowd. Moving to Newark, a large city with easy public access, allows for a younger, "hipper" demographic to come. The Izod Center played to more of the family type atmosphere. But the people I sat around knew basketball and followed the game closely, cheering the Nets and heckling the Celtics. The crowd was sparse, but pretty solid for a Thursday night preseason game. The moment that stood out to me was during the fourth quarter, when Derrick Favors got called for a questionable moving screen call, and the crowd rained down upon the refs with deafening boos. It was the loudest I've heard the crowd in years for something that didn't involve throwing free t-shirts. So, that's my optimism.

However, I am very pessimistic about the Nets' chances this season. Usually, I try to hope that with some lucky breaks, they can will themselves to 40-ish wins and an improbable playoff run. This year, I hold out no such hopes. I do not dislike any player in particular, it just seems that, chemistry-wise and experience-wise, the personnel is clearly a year away. As obvious as this sounds, they clearly look like a team that was just put together this month. So, 25 wins is exactly what I am expecting, and am telling all my loyal readers to brace for the rough times.

My final plea is to be gentle on Derrick Favors. As a #3 pick and the potential Carmelo trade hanging over him, expectations will be high. But, he is a 19-year-old kid (the youngest Net ever) trying to play the toughest position in the NBA. Please don't give up on him before Thanksgiving. Clearly, after Christmas, he is fair game.

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