At 5-13, the Brooklyn Nets have experienced a disastrous start to the season. Only 18 games into the 82-game marathon, Joe Johnson is the only player to have started every game. Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett have missed games, Deron Williams is still out with an ankle injury, and on Monday the Nets announced Paul Pierce would miss two to four weeks with a broken arm. Nets General Manager Billy King made sure this team had plenty of depth, but there is not a team in the National Basketball Association that can withstand injuries to four of five starters.
Fortunately for the Nets, leading scorer Lopez has returned, but he had his worst game of the season yesterday, scoring a season-low 12 point. They should be able to pick up a win against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center Thursday, a nationally televised game on TNT, but with the KnicksTape crew needing a win badly as well, anything is possible. (By the way, wonder if TNT wants the NFL flexibility of NBC with the option of flexing out of a game between teams with a combined 8-26 record?)
It appears Williams will return soon from injury, and if he is back to 100%, the team could get rolling. Williams is the engine that needs to fuel this team, and if he can play at the level he did during the second half of last season, then this team will begin to play well. Playoff seeding isn’t as important for a veteran team like the Nets, as a win against the defending champion Miami Heat and a close loss to the best team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers, show the Nets can play with anyone.
First-year head coach Jason Kidd must get a more consistent effort from this veteran team on the defensive end. Already, Kidd is playing more of the bench, a good thing, as it not only helps the younger players get more experience, but it also helps keep the aging stars fresher. Kidd knows from experience that once a player is burnt out, he may be done for the season. Kidd removed the highest paid assistant coach in the league, Lawrence Frank, from his bench yesterday, as apparently there were some differences of opinion that may have had a detrimental result on the team. We shall see what happens, because if Kidd doesn’t get this thing turned around, all eyes will be on him. It is not time to panic yet in Brooklyn, and, if the team gets healthy, we should soon see the team we expected to view on the court at the beginning of the season.