The Brooklyn Nets are starting to turn the corner from the disastrous Boston Celtics trade — and the postseason should be on the organization’s mind.
The new-look Brooklyn Nets have a good chance of clinching a playoff seed in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season, despite the fact they will probably have another mediocre campaign.
Why? Due to their roster’s enthusiasm and competitiveness, they’ll be able to take advantage of a weak bottom half of the Eastern Conference.
The Nets are one of the youngest overall teams in the NBA. They have failed to show success over the past several seasons with nothing but sub-.500 seasons and losing both on and off the court. They’re also still haunted by their past, namely the catastrophic 2013 trade they made with the Boston Celtics, which has taken all the Nets’ unprotected first round draft picks up until 2018, making their future arguably the bleakest in the league.
The Brooklyn Nets, however, made strides towards revamping their roster this offseason.
They made headlines by trading Brook Lopez and the 27th pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for rising star D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Even though Mozgov is owed $57 million over the next three seasons (which is a negative financial hit to the Nets), he does bring some big-man presence and will help Jarrett Allen, the Nets’ new, young big man, develop.
Russell has already shown he is ready to take charge over these young Nets and put Brooklyn back on the map, demonstrating nothing but positivity and a competitive spirit.
“I want teams to hate us,” Russell said at the Nets Inaugural Basketball Camp at Battery Park City, per Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily. “We’ve struggled over the last few years in Brooklyn. Teams are used to coming in and taking nights off. I just want to rebuild that and make it a place where people come and say ‘alright we got the crowd against us. It’s New York.’”
Russell is surrounded by young talent like himself on his new team and has expressed nothing but excitement for the upcoming season and taking leadership of the team.
Russell, Allen, Rondae Rollis-Jefferson — who has shown he can be an all around player for the Nets — and Caris LeVert — who can play multiple positions and roles — make up an intriguing young core.
The Nets also have players who came from winning teams and also have playoff experience in Mozgov, DeMarre Carroll and Allen Crabbe. Even though the trio weren’t top stars in the postseason, they will help the younger Nets make a serious run for a playoff berth and bring back hope to Brooklyn. The Nets also have key veteran pieces in Jeremy Lin, Sean Kilpatrick and Trevor Booker, all of who can make an impact either off the bench or in the starting lineup.
With a strong squad of young studs and veteran leaders, the Nets’ are set. But even better, their competitors for a playoff spot are teams they can contend with.
The Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which has lead to a snowball effect of nightmares in Chicago. Now with Dwyane Wade’s future with the Bulls uncertain, the Nets can edge them out for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic haven’t had much success since trading Dwight Howard five years ago and have not made many improvements this offseason.
The New York Knicks have also been in a storm of confusion the past couple of seasons. With Carmelo Anthony still in New York amid never-ending trade talks, there are too many distractions in the Knicks organization, which will affect the team on the court and ultimately hold them back.
The 76ers are the Nets’ top competitor for a playoff seed. Like Brooklyn, they’re filled with young talent — and if it all comes together, trusting the process may finally pay off.
It has taken a long time for the Brooklyn Nets to finally show signs of life. But with a young core, playoff-experienced talent and veteran role players, 2017 may be a turning point for the organization.