The Brooklyn Nets enjoyed a dominant regular season, but the postseason offers a different beast

New York Knicks, Immanuel Quickley

The Brooklyn Nets have been smoking hot this year. Roaring to life this season and setting the league on fire with their explosive superstars, the Nets have flat-out dominated teams with their offensive fortitude and have not slowed down. Despite having one of the most inconsistent starting lineups throughout the season due to injuries, mid-season trades, and personal, off-court circumstances, the Nets still managed to somehow muster a stellar 48-24 record on the season, clinching second overall in the East to secure a big playoff berth.

But what remains to be so impressive about the success of this team is how it has been executed through not only their core big three but also from their various different role-players as well. To see returning superstar Kevin Durant average a deadly stat line of 26.9 ppg, with 6.7 rpg and 5.6 apg in 35 games played, from Kyrie Irving becoming only the 9th player in NBA history to achieve a ‘50/40/90’ shooting performance on the season, to Joe Harris who shot 50.5% from the field and 47.5% from 3-PT range in 69 games, to Jeff Green’s, Bruce Brown’s and Landry Shamet’s ability to do all the little things this team needs on the floor, the Nets found various ways to win throughout the entire season, using just about everyone on their roster to achieve that goal.

However, despite all the success this team has accomplished under first-year head coach Steve Nash, the biggest, lingering obstacle left for the Nets to hurdle, comes down to how they are able to translate their seasonal success into the playoffs. Playoff basketball is gritty and intense, where not only do you face some of the best teams and players in the NBA, but you face them 4-7 games straight per round, home and away. And that level of flawless basketball that teams need to produce in order to win becomes that much harder to execute on a daily basis, especially when up against strong defensive teams who know what to watch for and adjust to after playing their opponent a couple of times in a row.

Although the Nets have great experience and talent all over their team, there are three major factors they will need to surmount if they want a chance to make their first Finals appearance in 18 years. And considering the severity and magnitude of these hurdles, it seems unlikely that the Nets will be able to get past the Eastern Conference Finals and could potentially come up short in the Semifinals. Though the Nets have proven that nothing is impossible, overcoming all of these challenges in the playoffs is simply far too grand and difficult of a feat, even for a team that’s as strong as the Nets. Without further ado, here are the three major concerns the Nets face in the playoffs:

3. Lack Of Chemistry Between Big Three: Though injuries are hard to avoid, lack of chemistry is a presiding reality with the Nets big three that could prove to be very costly during the playoffs. Playing a total of eight games together during the regular season along with two playoff games under their belts so far, Durant, Irving, and James Harden have not played a whole lot together, which has hindered their ability to garner a resilient chemistry level between the three of them. This might not be so problematic for a big three-unit that has a greater role-playing presence than the Nets do. But because the Nets have three mega scorers and ball-possession-oriented superstars, the balance between the need to score and unselfish play amongst each other is vital for them to strengthen and maintain, which doesn’t seem realistic to achieve during such a small window of time. Naturally, this concern will only get better with more playing time together, particularly since starters tend to play significantly bigger minutes during the postseason as well. However, great chemistry is developed with time, and this big three has not gotten much of that. Just take a look at the Miami Heat when they assembled their big three; they played a lot more games together and still came up short in the Finals back in 2011. Same thing with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ big three prior to winning their first championship in 2016; they didn’t win their first title with their big three until a year after they all joined the same team. If none of these epic franchises could muster a title in their first seasons with their respective big threes, it’s hard to envision that being any different with the Nets this season.

2. Poor Defense: Quite frankly, this is debatably the biggest issue for the Nets. Outside of Durant, Harris, Green, Brown, and Nicholas Claxton, the Nets don’t have anyone else who really plays good perimeter or interior defense, and it showed all season. Finishing the year in 21st overall in points allowed with a hefty total of 114.1 per game, the Nets also allowed their opponents to shoot just about 46% from the field and over 35% from the 3-PT line (ESPN). Though DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin do provide decent support inside, playing behind guards like Irving and Harden is a very difficult task, considering how often both guards struggle with keeping their opponents in front of them. Achieving regular-season success with a defense as poor as this is one thing. But when it comes to the playoffs, more or less the Finals, defense is what wins games, and the Nets don’t have much to show for on that front. If they come across teams like the 76ers, the Bucks, and even the Hawks or Knicks, the Nets are going to have to figure out how they not only can outscore their opponents every night but, in the process, will have to do so against some of the best defenses and defensive players in the league. And even for a big three as good as this one, that’s a huge challenge and a lot of pressure to take on every time they step on the court.

1. Tough Eastern Conference Opponents: You would think this wouldn’t be a major concern for the Nets, considering they are the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference. But, believe it or not, the Nets have a handful of opponents that could thwart their run to the Finals. If all goes well against the Celtics, the Nets would be in line to face the winner of the Miami Heat/Milwaukee Bucks series. With Miami down 3-0, it appears that the Nets will be in line to face the Bucks, which is a very concerning matchup. Losing back-to-back games against Milwaukee towards the end of the season, the Bucks have an offense that is debatably just as good as the Nets and was number one in points per game this season (ESPN). In addition, they also have much better defensive players in guys like Giannis Antetokoumpo, Jrue Holiday, P.J. Tucker, Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. If the Nets manage to get past the Bucks, there’s a very good chance they’ll be in line to face the 76ers, a nightmare matchup for any team. Possessing the deepest, most complete and well-rounded lineup in the NBA, the 76ers simply have it all. From an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid, to a defensive player of the year candidate in Ben Simmons, to then an outstanding two-way threat in Tobias Harris, along with 3-PT snipers in Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Furkan Korkmaz, the Nets really don’t have an answer against this team. If the Knicks or the Hawks perchance make it past the 76ers, the Nets will certainly have better odds to make their first Finals appearance. But even then, both the Hawks and Knicks bring the offensive skill and defensive fortitude to overthrow the Nets, presenting Brooklyn with a difficult finish either way.

In short, there’s a lot that has to go right for the Nets to make it to the Finals this year, more or less win their first title. With a chemistry level that lacks the essence of time and a defensive scheme that desperately needs toughness and better skill both inside and out, the Nets will have a hard time surpassing deeper and stouter teams within their own conference and certainly want to avoid a long series with both the Bucks and the 76ers. If they somehow survive against the Bucks and avoid the 76ers, the Nets potentially have a shot at making a Finals appearance. However, despite all their success this season, the magnitude of these core concerns are far too large and imposing for the Nets to fix during the stretch of the postseason. And an early exit in the playoffs seems inevitable.

Brooklyn Nets: Key observations after 3 games

Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets may not be undefeated, but after going 2-1 in their first three regular-season games, Nets fans should be extremely excited about what they’ve seen thus far.  The first two games were a breeze. Their game on Sunday night against the Charlotte Hornets? Not so much. Let’s take a closer look at how the Brooklyn Nets have performed this early in the season and what they will need to do moving forward in order to win the East and potentially an NBA title.

The Good

In their first two games against Golden State and Boston, the Nets averaged 124 points while limiting their opponents to less than 100.  We can get into the offense in a minute, but their smothering defense allowed them to pull away in both games. Against Golden State, they held Steph to 7/21 from the field and held the Golden State Warriors to 30% from 3pt land and 37% from the field. The Nets shot 32 free throws compared to the Warriors 23, and the game was over by halftime. All 5 starters were a +20 or more, and the Kyrie (26 points) and KD (22 points) tandem on offense were virtually unstoppable. Caris came in and poured 20 off the bench, and every single player that saw the floor scored, with the exception of Tyler Johnson.

Against Boston, the story was much of the same. While the 1st half was much closer than the Golden State game, the Nets held Boston to just 23 points in the 3rd and 18 points in the 4th before pulling away in the 4th quarter. The Nets’ length on defense made life miserable for Jayson Tatum, who finished 9-22 from the field with 20 points. The only other two Celtics players in double figures were Jaylen Brown with 27 and Marcus Smart with 13. The Nets held the Celtics to 29% from three-point range. On offense, Kyrie and KD continued their dominance, scoring respectively 37 and 29. LeVert was the only other Net in double figures with 10, and Joe Harris finished with 9. The intensity and execution the Nets demonstrated from start to finish prompted an extremely complimentary quote from Marcus Smart, who said:

The Bad

Obviously, as talented as this Nets team is, nobody believed they would go 72-0. It was only a matter of time before they lost a game and truly showed us some of their flaws. Many just didn’t think it would come against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night. From the jump, the Nets looked a step behind and lacked the intensity they played within the first two games. The Nets had 19 turnovers compared to the Hornets 12, lost in the rebounding category by 6, and failed to score more than 30 points in any quarter. The Hornets not only out-played the Nets, but they also out-hustled them, too, getting to almost every loose ball and grabbing 13 offensive boards. The Nets were unable to slow down Hayward, who led the Hornets with 28 points going 12-30 from the field, and P.J. Washington was a nightmare on the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds to go along with 14 points. Even Kyrie’s former teammate in Boston, Terry Rozier, finished with 19 points and a highlight-reel slam dunk over Kevin Durant.

Down 16 points in the 4th quarter, Brooklyn showed their resilience by cutting the deficit to just two points with less than 20 seconds remaining. Durant, who finished with 29 points, had a chance to tie the game off a baseline mid-range jumper over Biyombo, but much like the rest of the game, it didn’t go the Nets’ way and rimmed out. Kyrie poured in 25 points and 6 assists but had 4 turnovers as well. Joe Harris, who the Nets have gotten involved in the offense very early on in their first three games, finished with 13 points going 5-12 from the field and 3-7 from the three-point range. Brooklyn’s 2nd unit, led by Caris LeVert, who was a -12 on the court, was extremely disappointing in this one and let the Hornets take a commanding lead early in the 4th. To sum it up nicely, the Nets didn’t show up for this one.

The Unexpected

No professional sports season goes the exact way a team plans it will. Unforeseen events occur, and the coaches/GM/players make adjustments throughout a season. Heck, if you want a good example of this, just look at the NFC East in the NFL! The Brooklyn Nets are no different and are in the midst of seeing several unexpected events play out.

Easily the worst post-game news to come from their game against Charlotte was the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie. After going down in the 3rd quarter, it was announced shortly after the game that Dinwiddie had suffered a partially torn ACL in his right knee, requiring surgery, and he would be out the rest of the season. This is a huge blow for the Nets, as Dinwiddie had started each game this season as the #2 guard next to Kyrie, and it seemed as though he was started to play better in his new role.

With Dinwiddie getting hurt, that led to an opportunity for a Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot or “TLC,” who had been buried on the depth chart and hadn’t even received much time with the second unit. TLC got Dinwiddie’s minutes in the 4th quarter and was fantastic, playing great defense and going 4-4 from the field (3-3 from three-point range) and finishing with 11 points. If anything good could come out of this awful news regarding Dinwiddie’s knee, it is that TLC might be a guy Nash will want to give more minutes to, especially since Taurean Prince and Landry Shamet have both struggled mightily in the first three games.

Overall Summary

What we have learned so far:

-KD and Kyrie are BACK. There is not a better duo in the East than those two. They can each get to wherever they want on the court and complement each other’s games very nicely. On the last play of the Charlotte game, fans saw a Kyrie/KD pick and roll, resulting in KD’s miss to tie the game. That play may become deadly as the two become more familiar playing with one another.

-The Nets 2nd unit isn’t as dominant as we assumed it would be. LeVert has had 2 back-to-back mediocre games and needs to do a better job of leading the team when KD/Kyrie is not on the floor. Taurean Prince has been flat out awful, and Shamet has been disappointing. Jarrett Allen has been the most consistent player in the 2nd unit.

-When the Nets don’t play with urgency and focus on defense, they could be beaten by any team in this league.

-Head Coach Steve Nash has not quite mastered these rotations just yet

What we still don’t know:

-Who will start in Dinwiddie’s place; will it be Caris LeVert? Landry Shamet? Or did TLC earn the chance to start?

-Are the Nets still interested in trading for James Harden?

-Will Deandre Jordan eventually get demoted to the 2nd unit so Jarrett Allen can start?

-Will the Nets begin to rest KD and Kyrie soon to manage their playing time?

The Nets (2-1) play the Memphis Grizzlies (0-2) at home tonight at 7:30 pm EST. Kevin Durant will be sitting out this game.

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Brooklyn Nets: Breaking down the Nets Final Preseason Win against the Celtics

Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving

If you’re a follower of Brooklyn Nets news, then you have probably seen the video of Kyrie Irving burning sage prior to the Nets’ final preseason game against the Celtics last night. Irving explained after the game, his “smudging” was meant to cleanse the energy in the arena but to0 many Nets fans, it may have had a slightly different meaning; a fresh start. Not since the early 2000s have Nets, fans had a team with this much hype and excitement around them. With a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, returning key contributors in Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen, and adding Landry Shamet and Jeff Green in the offseason to round out this roster, stakes could not be higher for the Brooklyn Nets as we approach the regular season.

Breaking Down the Nets Final Preseason Game

Kevin Durant Shows Out

While the first preseason game belonged to Kyrie, Durant stole the show against the Celtics last night, scoring 25 points on 9-16 from the field in 27 minutes of action. Whether it was the pull-up three, blowing by his defender for the dunk at the rim, or the un-guardable mid-range shot, Durant showed to everyone last night that he hasn’t lost a step. But elite offense wasn’t the only feature Durant showcased last night; he also led the Nets with 3 blocks, several of them coming at the rim. If this is the Kevin Durant Nets fans will get this season, barring any health setbacks, then there aren’t many teams in the East who can claim their #1 is better than Brooklyn’s.

Kyrie Continues to Lead

There have been several instances throughout the first two pre-season games where Kyrie Irving has shown his leadership among teammates. Yesterday, there were two specific scenarios. One came shortly after a Spencer Dinwiddie drive to the basket, of which there was contact with his defender but no call. This became a reoccurring theme for Dinwiddie throughout the night, as there were not many fouls called on his behalf. After a particularly physical drive, Dinwiddie was visually frustrated on the ground after not receiving the call, and an encouraging Kyrie Irving came over to him to pick him up. Seems subtle and small, but those are the types of actions that good teammates and leaders exhibit on a nightly basis.

The second moment came from Irving leading by example. After the Celtics went on a mini-run midway through the game, Tatum had just finished a sequence in which he had scored 5 straight points and rejected Spencer Dinwiddie on his drive to the rim. With the Nets only leading by 9, the smallest lead since the beginning of the game, Irving demanded the ball with Tatum covering him, immediately took him to the lane, and scored on a beautiful floater. You could feel the Celtics’ momentum vanish as the Nets would go on a scoring run of their own after that moment. These are the types of momentum swings that leaders like Kyrie and KD have to execute in order for the Nets to be dominant. Kyrie finished with 17 pts, 5 assists, and 7 rebs in 28 minutes.

Role Players who Impressed

There were several Nets outside of KD and Kyrie who performed exceptionally last night. Joe Harris had a huge “remember me guys?” moment early on in the game and finished with 14 points. Dinwiddie looked efficient with the starters, despite a 1-7 shooting night, picking his spots on when he should attack and when he should defer to the two stars on the team. And Jarrett Allen continued his excellent play in backing up Deandre Jordan (will return to shortly) with a stat line of 9 pts and 11 rebs. As for the two newcomers in Jeff Green and Landry Shamet, they have given Steve Nash some excellent minutes thus far. Shamet has looked sharp with the 2nd unit and moves well without the ball. Green, playing at the 5, has given the Nets a small-ball lineup with all 5 players on the court capable of hitting a three. TLC gave the Nets 11 solid minutes off the bench and has fought hard this preseason to crack this Nets rotation.

Preseason Summary & Remaining Roster questions

Obviously, the biggest story out of the Nets’ two preseason games has been how great Kyrie and KD have both looked. There needs to be something said about the fact that these guys complement each other’s games very nicely. KD can play with anybody, and Kyrie now feels he has an equal scoring counterpart on his team (sorry, Lebron). The supporting cast has looked exceptional, and Nash has done a great job of mixing and matching rotations in hopes of generating an optimal five players throughout the game. The Nets have dominated their opponents in both preseason games, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions about this team headed into the regular season.

For example, who will start at the center position, Deandre Jordan or Jarrett Allen? In two preseason games, Coach Nash has yet to insert Jarrett Allen into the starting lineup. Now, this is where many Nets fans have disagreed with Nash; anyone with eyes can see Allen has the ability to contribute much more than Jordan, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, the narrative is that because Jordan has a close-knit friendship with KD and Kyrie, he will continue to start over Allen. This is something that may change if the Nets go on a losing skid early on in the season.

Another question Nash will have to answer is who will start alongside Kyrie, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Caris LeVert? Yesterday, we saw Dinwiddie get the start, who seemed to mesh well with Kyrie and KD despite the off shooting night.  LeVert led the 2nd unit and eventually would get some time with KD and Kyrie in the 3rd. While it seemed as though Nash’s strategy worked as LeVert managed to score 18 points in 21 minutes, the Nets are still unsure on who will start and who will come off the bench between the two.

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Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Tests Positive for COVID-19 a 2nd time, Will Not Travel to Orlando with team

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

You ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go your way, and you find yourself asking, how can today possibly get any worse? And then low and behold, something else terrible happens and it immediately gets worse? That has been the last several months for our Brooklyn Nets.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who was hopeful to travel with the Nets to Orlando despite being infected with COVID-19 and showing symptoms, tested positive for a 2nd time on Monday, thus ending any hopes of returning to the hardwood once the season resumes. Dinwiddie updated fans and commended the Nets organization in several tweets earlier on Tuesday afternoon:

Dinwiddie is the 6th player on the Nets roster to have tested positive for COVID-19 since March and the 2nd Net in the last two weeks, as DeAndre Jordan also tested positive for the virus. Unlike Jordan, who immediately stated he would not be playing in Orlando, Dinwiddie’s goal was to rehab as much as he can and see where things stood before the team left to Orlando. Unfortunately, Dinwiddie fell short of his goal and will be watching what’s left of the Nets compete from the comfort of his home. The Brooklyn point guard did leave fans on a positive note by tweeting out the following:

With Dinwiddie officially out, the team has some tough roster decisions to make. Who will start at point guard? Which players will step up and attempt to match the production that was given to the Nets on a nightly basis from Dinwiddie, DeAndre, and Wilson Chandler? As NetsDaily pointed out, here is what the remaining roster looks like for Brooklyn:

It seems as though newcomer Tyler Johnson will get big minutes now, paired with the likes of Chiozza and Temple backing up Caris LeVert and Joe Harris. TLC will also be in that mix. Reserves such as Jeremiah Martin and Dzanan Musa could see an increase in playing time if there is any injury to the guards mentioned previously.

It will be interesting to watch how interim HC Jacque Vaughn handles this new roster and what lineups he decides to use in Orlando. There are several fans out there (myself included) that believe Vaughn is coaching for the Nets HC job next year, which could be a motivating factor for this team to perform well and exceed expectations. The Nets may not be the team they were when the season ended in March, but this team still has some fight left in them.

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Brooklyn Nets: Tyler Johnson In, Theo Pinson Out

Tyler Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

Late last night, the Brooklyn Nets made one of the first big moves of pre-Orlando free agency by signing veteran Tyler Johnson. The 28-year-old guard, who has played for the Heat and the Suns in his 7 year career, will continue his journey as a key player in the rotation for the Nets. Johnson was having a down year for the Suns before play was suspended, averaging only 5.7 points in limited playing time, but Net’s fans hope he’s able to capture some of the same magic he had early in his career with the Heat.

Nets Have Had their Eye on Tyler Johnson for a While

This isn’t the first time the Nets showed interest in Johnson. Back in 2016, the Nets had put out a $50 million offer sheet for Johnson, that was matched by the Miami Heat. Now a guard has been added to the mix, general manager Sean Marks has a decision to make on Chris Chiozza. Chiozza gave the Nets some great minutes down the stretch as a backup option to Spencer Dinwiddie but is currently a free agent. He is not guaranteed a spot on the roster but many Nets fans feel bringing Chiozza back would be in the team’s best interest, especially with Kyrie Irving sidelined until next season.

With Tyler Johnson coming in, the Nets also decided to permanently waive fan-favorite Theo Pinson. What Pinson lacked in on-court production he made up as a motivator on the bench. Whether it was celebrating big baskets by dancing on the sidelines or constantly hyping up teammates after significant plays, Pinson helped create the culture in Brooklyn that helped propel the team to a playoff run last year and made the team attractive enough for two of the biggest superstars in the league to want to play here. Every great team needs a hype man and Pinson for the last few years was that guy.

Unfortunately in attempting to build a championship roster, Marks has had to make certain sacrifices along the way. In cutting Pinson, allowing David Nwaba (another fan favorite) to sign a two year deal with the Rockets, and trading away the Net’s best player from a year ago in D’Angelo Russell, Marks has shown he’s willing to make the tough decision to take this team to the next level.

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Former GM Rod Thorn Blames end of Nets Eastern Conference Dominance on not resigning Kenyon Martin

Many people come to mind when Nets fans reminisce over the early 2000s teams that went to two straight finals in 2002 and 2003. Jason Kidd, Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Byron Scott, and Richard Jefferson are among some of those names. One name every Nets fan will forever remember was the energetic, undersized yet effective power forward, Kenyon Martin. “K-Mart,” who only ended up playing 4 seasons with the Nets, was undoubtedly their second most important player during those two runs to the NBA Finals. Martin was the #1 selection in the 2000 draft by the New Jersey Nets, which also happened to be the first draft of Rod Thorn’s with the franchise. It has been 20 years since that draft, and Thorn believes the Nets lost their Eastern Conference Crown when they failed to resign Jason Kidd’s favorite alley-oop partner, Kenyon Martin.

Thorn Shares Thoughts on What Led to Nets Demise in Recent Interview with Ian Eagle

Thorn, a legend most notably recognized for drafting arguably the greatest player of all in Michael Jordan during the 1984 draft, turned the Nets from a joke to one of the most dangerous teams in the East with only a few draft picks and several roster moves. Outside of trading for Jason Kidd, who quickly became the leader and best player on the Nets, Thorn’s second-biggest move was drafting Kenyon Martin.

K-Mart’s numbers never jumped off the sheet. In 4 years with NJ, he averaged a respectable 15.1 ppg and 7.6 RPG. At 6’9, he was undersized for the power forward position but prided himself on being the most energetic player on the floor at all times. Hustling for loose balls, throwing down high-flying alley-oops from Jason Kidd, and scoring on second-chance opportunities were several of Martin’s strengths. Pair his energy and ability to get out in transition with an all-time distributor in Jason Kidd, and what we received on the court was some of the best basketball in the history of the New Jersey Nets franchise. To refresh your memory of just how ferocious a player Martin was, here are several highlights from his days with the Nets:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c-q3bt-LzE&w=560&h=315%5D

When asked by Ian Eagle about Kenyon Martin, Thorn had this to say: “We were never the same after Kenyon left. We never replaced him while I was there. Tremendous heart gave it his all, run the court, was great playing with Jason. A little undersized for Tim Duncan, but did a great job for us, loved it.” After the 03 seasons, Martin would play one more season with the Nets before eventually agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Denver Nuggets. According to an interview by Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson in 2018, Martin claims the Nets never offered him a contract after the 2004 season, forcing him to agree to a sign-and-trade with Denver for a lucrative seven-year $92.5M dollar contract.

Unfortunately, we all know how this story played out. Martin left after the 03-04 season, the Nets traded for Vince Carter to take over as the primary scorer, and while the pairing of Carter and Kidd were sensational together for several years, they never peaked quite as hard as the early 2000s Nets teams did. Nets fans will forever be grateful for Rod Thorn turning around the franchise in trading for HOF point guard Jason Kidd and drafting significant pieces in Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson. But one could only wonder, what if the Nets had resigned K-Mart after that 03-04 season and continued to build off the Kidd/Martin/Jefferson trio? Could we have potentially returned to an NBA final if we ever found the right Center to pair with those three? These are the types of questions that have kept Nets fans up for the past 15 years, including me.

Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Defends Himself against Twitter Troll

Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie

Twitter is an amazing place. Fans can interact with players and players can speak their minds to fans on a daily basis. Sometimes the interactions are pleasant and positive, other times players feel the need to defend themselves against the “haters.” The more a player tends to speak out and be active on social media, the more haters they seem to have. Spencer Dinwiddie, one of the most active Brooklyn Nets on Twitter, is a veteran when it comes to dealing with the “haters” on Twitter.

After a bizarre video of Mitchell Robinson putting on a dribbling clinic and drilling a jumper in a 2 on 2 scrimmage went viral, many Knicks fans were impressed with the young big man’s skills. Spencer Dinwiddie decided to address what many were thinking in a tweet responding to the video of Robinson.

As talented as Robinson is, Dinwiddie was 100% correct in his observation here. Unfortunately, @DaRealBootum chose this opportunity to take a shot at our “Tech Guy with a Jumper.”

Bootum even included a two-minute montage of Dinwiddie’s step-back misses illustrating his point. Very strange, specific area to attack Dinwiddie. I would assume most who attempt stepback jumpers don’t have high percentages. Dinwiddie perceived Bootum’s comment to be slight at his clutch gene and responded appropriately:

After reading Dinwiddie’s tweet, I decided to post a tweet of my own from the Fireside Nets account explaining just how spot on I thought Dinwiddie was in defending himself.

The perfect breakdown as to why Dinwiddie is CLUTCH and shouldn’t take trash from anybody trying to point out his misses. And clearly, Dinwiddie agreed with my explanation. Not only did he favorite the tweet, Dinwiddie responded to my tweet immediately afterward!

Just another day in the Twitter life of Spencer Dinwiddie. Now, let’s enjoy these videos of Dinwiddie hitting game-winners and laugh at those on Twitter that try to hate on him.

 

 

 

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On this Date 8 years ago, the Nets played their last game in New Jersey

Nets, New Jersey Nets, Brooklyn Nets

On April 23rd, 2012, the Nets played their final game in the Izod Center after their 2-year stint in Newark, thus ending the franchise’s run of 35 seasons in New Jersey.

The Nets lost the game to the Philadelphia 76ers, 105 – 87. Players that scored in double figures that night for the 76ers were Jrue Holiday (15), Andre Iguodala (14), Elton Brand (15), Lou Williams (11), Evan Turner (13), and Thaddeus Young (15).

Marshon Brooks (18) and Kris Humphries (16 pts 12 rbs) lead the Nets in scoring while Gerald Wallace, Johan Petro, and Armon Johnson all scored in double figures. Also on that Nets team was Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, and DeShawn Stevenson. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were inactive for that game. In Avery Johnson’s 2nd to last year as Head Coach, the team finished the season 22 – 43 that season. Here is one of the few highlights from that season:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRPU6GXvsI?controls=0&start=11&w=560&h=315

It wasn’t until their move to Brooklyn and acquisition of Joe Johnson that the team finally started winning again. But from 2007 to that final game in 2012, the New Jersey Nets were one of the worst franchises in the NBA, finishing each of those five seasons with losing records.

It’s the horrible seasons fans are forced to endure that make the successful ones that much sweeter. When Brooklyn holds that championship trophy in the next few years, the same Nets fans that suffered from 2007-2012 will be the loudest ones cheering, and I will be among them.

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Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant and Other Nets Players Welcome Sabrina Ionescu to Brooklyn

On Friday Night, the New York Liberty selected Oregon Ducks point guard Sabrina Ionescu No. 1 overall in the 2020 WNBA draft. Ionescu had a legendary career at Oregon, most notably known for registering the most triple doubles in NCAA history, finishing with a ridiculous 26. She also had an incredibly close relationship with the late great Kobe Bryant. Bryant admired Ionescu’s competitive drive and the two shared many conversations about life and basketball together. Ionescu spoke at Kobe’s public memorial in February.

As the New York Liberty plan to play in Brooklyn for the full 2020 season, a move that has been heavily backed by Liberty and Nets owner Joe Tsai, Nets players have gone out of their way to welcome Ionescu to Brooklyn.  Kevin Durant started the welcome wagon shortly after Ionescu was drafted.

The Brooklyn Nets also congratulated Ionescu on their own Twitter page last night with several tweets including a video featuring Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, and Garrett Temple, all crafting Sabrina a personalized message about their excitement for her to play in Brooklyn.

Along with Sabrina Ionescu, the New York Liberty also selected Megan Walker (UConn), Kylee Shook (Louisville), Jazmine Jones (Louisville) and Leaonna Odom (Duke).

Brooklyn Nets: All-Time Starting Five Lineup

Brooklyn Nets, Joe Johnson

If the Brooklyn Nets were able to create a starting five featuring their best position players of all time, regardless of which period the players played in, who would that starting five be? This starting five can feature any player on the team after the Nets joined the NBA in 1976, so I will NOT be including Julius Erving and Rick Barry on this list.

My All-Time Starting Nets Five

Center: Brook Lopez

Career Stats: 16.8 ppg 6.4 RPG, 9 seasons with NJN/BKN

This position might have been the most difficult to select. There were several solid options to choose from, including Derrick Coleman and Jayson Williams, who played very solid basketball for the Nets in the ’90s, to old-timer Daryl Dawkins who was a dunk machine in the ’80s. I ended up going with Brook Lopez due to his consistent scoring and ability to play a true 5. The other players on the list were undersized centers and were better suited as Power Forwards.

A talented scoring big man drafted by the Nets from Stanford, Lopez’s 9-year tenure with the Nets often goes overlooked, as he was always one of the more quiet personalities on the team. Lopez offensively had all the tools to be an all-star center: post up scoring ability, great mid-range game, and he could even hit the open three on occasion. At his peak, Lopez averaged over 20 points per game for the Nets and helped with their transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn. The big knock on Lopez was and will always be his lack of rebounding, as he never averaged more than 9 rebounds per game in any season. Lopez was also viewed as “soft” on defense, and while he averaged more than 1.5 blocks throughout his career, he never struck fear into his opponents.

Power Forward: Kenyon Martin 

Career Stats: 12.3 ppg, 6.8 RPG, 4 seasons with NJN

Yes, K-mart’s career numbers will not wow anybody. Derrick Coleman averaged more points and rebounds than K-Mart so did Buck Williams. Obviously, from a historical standpoint, Kevin Garnett is the greatest PF to ever play for the Nets, but he played for the Nets well after his prime. K-Mart only played in NJ for 4 seasons, but his presence was so significant in New Jersey  I’m sure many Nets fans would assume he played there longer.

K-Mart was a pivotal member of the Nets teams that represented the Eastern Conference in back to back NBA Finals. Even as a limited shooter (his jump shot was one of the ugliest in the NBA) and undersized big man, Martin relied heavily on his athleticism and energy to score and make plays for his team.  He brought an intensity to the Nets that was unprecedented and upon Jason Kidd’s arrival, quickly became one of Kidd’s favorite players to set up for shots around the rim. From diving for loose balls every night to high flying two-handed dunks, Martin was an extremely fun player to watch, and he always seemed to elevate his game during the playoffs (see his ppg and RPG higher in playoff appearances with NJN).

Small Forward: Kevin Durant

Career Stats: 27.0 ppg, 7.1 RPG, 0 seasons with NJN 

Technically, Durant 100% qualifies for this list. While he hasn’t played in a Nets uniform yet, there is no small forward in the history of the franchise that has accomplished anything close what to KD has. Durant is a former MVP (2013 – 14 season), 2-time NBA champion (won Finals MVP in both), 4-time scoring champion, and a 10-time all-star. He is arguably the best scorer in the last decade, and he is just 31 years old. The Nets will await to see if Durant can return to an elite level next season, almost 2 years removed from the Achilles injury he suffered in the 2018 – 19 NBA Finals.

Other small forwards considered: Richard Jefferson, Bojan Bogdanović, Keith Van Horn, Kendall Gill, and the interchangeable SF/SG players, Vince Carter and Joe Johnson.

Shooting Guard: Vince Carter

Career Stats: 16.7 ppg, 4.5 seasons with NJN

VC joined the Nets in 2004 after 7 great years with Toronto and instantly developed chemistry with teammate Jason Kidd. The loss of K-Mart to Denver became a distant memory in the eyes of Nets fans, as Carter provided fans with highlight-reel dunks and alley-oops on a nightly basis. Two of the best Vince Carter plays on the Nets you will ever see: His reverse dunk alley-oop pass from Kidd in 2006 and his posterization of Alonzo Mourning in 2005. While the Nets never went back to a championship with Kidd and Cater, the pair gave fans several years of extremely entertaining basketball.

While one could make the argument that Carter was a small forward for the Nets, he and Jefferson shared wing duties and were interchangeable at the 2 and the 3. Other notable shooting guards that could have been selected include Drazen Petrović, who was becoming a superstar for the Nets until he passed away after a tragic car accident in 1993 and Joe Johnson, who was the leader on Brooklyn teams that went to the playoffs in the early 2010s.

Point Guard: Jason Kidd

Career Stats: 12.6 ppg 6.7 RPG 8.7 APG, 6.5 seasons with NJN

This one was a no-brainer; Jason Kidd is the greatest Net of all time and was the main piece during the franchise’s most successful run to date. From the time he was traded to the Nets in 2001 for Stephon Marbury to when he was traded back to the Mavericks in 2007, there was never a greater time for basketball in New Jersey. Always an elite passer, Kidd made everyone on the Nets better because he made the game easier for them. Whether it was setting up players like K-Mart or Carter for epic fast-break dunks to finding open shooters like Keith Van Horn, Lucious Harris, and Kerry Kittles for open three-pointers, Kidd always knew where his teammates were going to be before they got there. If you want to relive some of Kidd’s greatest assists of his career, many of them with a Nets uniform on, watch this video here. The man was an absolute magician with the basketball.

Kenny Anderson, D’Angelo Russell, and Kyrie Irving are several other notable great NBA point guards.

Do you agree or disagree with my list? Let me know @firesidenets on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!