The Brooklyn Nets won their first game in the month of February on Monday night. They have one more matchup this month with an opponent possessing a strange connection.
The Brooklyn Nets secured their first victory in February against the tanking Chicago Bulls on Monday night. Prior to the Nets 104-87 dispatch of the Chicago, the Brooklyn had lost eight straight. In fact, the Nets had held no other opponent in February to fewer than 102 points. In those eight losses, their opponents averaged 115 points per game.
Such is the life of a team tanking down the stretch of the season. But the only problem with this picture is that Nets aren’t tanking. Even though they have all the look and feel of a tanking team, the Nets can truthfully argue that the organization wants to win these games. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the reason why the Nets are most definitely not tanking. The Cavaliers own the Nets first-round pick via the Kyrie Irving trade with Boston.
So to finish out an absolutely dreadful month of February, the Nets get to play against the team that is in possession of their first-rounder in 2018. Not that the Cavaliers need any more motivation to beat the Nets on Tuesday night, but a win would help the Cavs chances at the ping-pong balls going their way.
It’s something out of a Greek tragedy. The Nets coalition of GM Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson are trying their best to right the ship and bring the Nets out of perpetual cellar-dwelling. Yet, the transgressions of Billy King are the circumstances that the Nets are forced to endure.
Although the wins have been few and far between, there are better days ahead. In the short-term, the recently healthy Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert will help bring some stability in the lineup for this team. Although RHJ and LeVert only played 22 and 21 minutes respectively on Monday night, they will give Atkinson more options in games and are two pieces that they hope fit the long-term plans.
Speaking of those long-term plans, Nets fans can take solace in the fact that much like the Cavs are the Nets last opponent in February, the Cavs own the last of the lottery picks that Billy King carelessly traded away.
And much like February of 2018, the Nets need to leave the past in the past. It’s a slow build back to prominence in the NBA. Without a true superstar, it’s difficult to stay relevant. Without a lottery pick, it’s difficult to find that true superstar. So in the meantime, the Nets are trying to manufacture their own stars. Or at the very least some solid pieces to surround a star with, should he ever arrive in Brooklyn.
But for now, the Nets best hope to build for the future is to keep looking ahead. Continue to develop guys they have taken chances on like D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. Both guards have shown promise this year and they could develop into a formidable backcourt tandem in the future.
And although the Nets aren’t in possession of a coveted lottery pick, they do have Toronto’s first-round pick. It’s more difficult to hit on those later picks, but the Nets hope they can hit on their late first-rounder for the second straight season. They took Jarrett Allen with the 22nd pick in 2017 and he is having a nice rookie season. He definitely looks like he is going to be a part of the long-term plan of the organization.
February was tough, Tuesday night may be tougher still, and the ultimate goal is nowhere in sight, but it’s important to stay patient. This is a slow rebuild. It might not be easy right now, but if the Nets can turn the page on February and keep moving forward, a bright future is possible.