Success in Brooklyn Despite the Odds
The Brooklyn Nets are good.
After being bad for a very long time, after executing arguably the worst trade in NBA history (shout out to Billy King), the Nets are finally good. Why? Because they implemented arguably the most unique and successful rebuild in recent history—aside from Philly’s 76er’s “process.” (Press F to pay respects to Sam Hinkie, who died for our sins.)
Let’s take it back to 2013: The Franchise Depletion
The Nets finished their season with a first round loss to the Chicago Bulls right after clinching their first playoff berth since 2006-2007. Hometown king Jay-Z was in the crowd for some home games, they hired Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd as their head coach to call the shots on the court, and their core of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson looked solid throughout the season.
But they still needed a few pieces to really make a finals run in the East. So what do Billy King and the Brooklyn Nets do about it?
They go all in.
The Nets completely mortgage their future, trading for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry; all of whom are in their late 30s (although Terry probably feels like a young 48). For these relics, the Nets throw Boston future first round picks in 2014, 2016, 2018 along with the rights to swap picks in 2017. The trade is gross on so many levels, and for obvious reasons. Brooklyn got 6 points 6 rebounds per game out of Garnett that season, and 13 points per game year from Garnett’s fellow fossil Paul Pierce which ultimately resulted in a second round playoff exit for the Nets.
Fast forward to 2017
After acquiring a talented Jaylen Brown the year before with the their Brooklyn pick which ended up being third overall, the Celtics third Nets pick wins the lottery. The Celtics trade with the 76ers and gain future all-star Jayson Tatum, while the Nets are forced to sit back with their talentless roster and watch Boston reap the benefits. In hindsight, this all-time horrible trade is what makes the current Nets rebuild so amazing.
2018 and Onward: The Final Chapter
Seemingly despite inexperienced GM Sean Marks, barely any draft picks, and no valuable assets, the Nets have found a way to persevere and become a legitimate playoff team in the East. And they’ve done it with names you would’ve never expected.
D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris Levert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Chester, PA Legend), and Jarrett Allen make up Brooklyn’s now promising young core with an average age of 23.
The Nets and Sean Marks acquired four of the five via trade or free agency, which says a lot about the teams ability to evaluate and develop talent. The D’Angelo Russell and Mozgov-Dwight Howard trades are, and will continue to be, the most important moves the Nets have made in recent history.
Aside from pulling now all-star (and potential franchise cornerstone) DLo, they also shed a major albatross of a contract. Thanks to Mitch Kupchak’s apparent soft spot for Mozgov, the Nets were able to trade with Charlotte for Dwight Howard, who would then be bought out. This frees up another 16.7 million dollars this upcoming off-season, which will be huge towards creating enough cap space to sign TWO max free agents in a class that includes stars such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and New York’s own Kemba Walker.
With their intelligent front office, great young core, and potentially tons of financial freedom this off-season, the Brooklyn Nets are for real and ready to be an Eastern Conference powerhouse for years to come.
PS: The Coogi down to the socks uniforms are the best in the league. RIP The Notorious B.I.G
By: Bill Patterson
Degenerate Millennial Contributor
Please listen to the Degenerate Millennials Podcast available on Itunes, Spotify, Sticher, and the Google Play Store. We appreciate every listen, rating, and share!