Being a fan of the Brooklyn Nets must be a difficult thing these days. The Nets, with a 8-33 record right now, sit at the league’s rock bottom. For other teams down there, there are reasons to be optimistic. The Philadelphia 76ers and the Minnesota Timberwolves are also similarly bad teams right now. But those guys have Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, respectively. The Nets are in a deeper hole, all on their own.
Is there a plan? Where do the Brooklyn Nets go from here?
Patience in the Process
Most teams at the lower rungs of the NBA’s ladder may lose a lot of games, but they typically have the draft to look forward to. Not the case with these Brooklyn Nets: their coveted first round pick belongs to Boston, while Atlanta owns their second round pick. That’s their payment for the trades involving Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Joe Johnson years ago.
They do still have picks, but they’re likely to end up with the 24th (according to Tankathon) right now. That’s the swap with the Boston. They also have a couple of second rounders there. In what’s supposedly a deep draft, they’ll take anything they can get – you never know what kind of gems you’ll find, even at the 60th pick.
Meanwhile, though, Brooklyn’s process is all about improvement. Not winning, mind you. Just improving. When Kenny Atkinson was brought in to coach this mishmash of players, perhaps the win-loss record was the last thing from the team management’s mind. Or, at least, their expectations.
So far, baby steps can be seen in the process, if one looks for them. Caris LaVertis is displaying the kind of improvement expected for a rookie aiming to crack rotations. Rondae-Hollis Jefferson is being given more minutes as well, and it’s shown in increased scoring output and aggressiveness. There’s talent here. It’s deep, but there it is. All of Brooklyn must be patient.
Once the talent is established, then one can say the Nets have assets once more. And that means either further, in-house development, or trading to expedite the team’s rise back through the rankings. There are limited options, but they’re realistic options.
A New Team
While there isn’t much the Brooklyn Nets can do, it’s pretty clear that staying the course is what they should do. Trading away veterans like Brook Lopez, Luis Scola, and Jeremy Lin for draft picks seems like a good idea, but even on a lowly team, rookies need their mentors. So, the right balance needs to be kept. The Timberwolves have already shown that raw talent is slowed down when there’s no hand to guide it.
Don’t forget that this is a team where nearly everyone – players, coaches, even GM Sean Marks – is new to this. They’re developing a culture, finding diamonds in the rocks, and that takes time. They have to go through these growing pains. Stay the course. Like the Sixers before them, trust the process. As fan site Nets Daily best puts it, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.