Watchability Rankings: Brooklyn Nets
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports’ Adi Joseph and Sean Highkin will be counting down NBA teams based on watchability for the upcoming 2013-14 seasons. We’ll go one team a day, from least-watchable to most, giving you an idea of what to keep an eye out for this season. Today, we continue with the No. 20 Brooklyn Nets:
2012-13 record: 49-33, lost in first round of Eastern Conference playoffs
Adi Joseph’s 2013-14 record projection: 49-33, fourth in Eastern Conference
Two best players (2012-13 stats): G Deron Williams (18.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists a game), C Brook Lopez (19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks a game).
Overview: Not much has changed in Brooklyn since last season. All they’ve done is bring in future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, sign versatile forward Andrei Kirilenko at far below market value for added depth and hire Nets legend Jason Kidd as head coach 10 days after he retired from playing. Billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov sent a message loud and clear: he wants to win now and he’s not afraid to spend big to make it happen. But even bringing in two superstars isn’t enough to ensure title contention in a loaded Eastern Conference featuring the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, the still-dangerous Indiana Pacers and a Chicago Bulls team that’s getting Derrick Rose back.
WHY YOU CAN’T MISS THEM
A star-studded cast: Going into the season, the Nets’ starting lineup will boast a combined 35 All-Star appearances over their careers: 15 for Garnett, 10 for Pierce, six for shooting guard Joe Johnson, three for point guard Deron Williams and one for center Brook Lopez. That’s a lot of big names, and it will be interesting to see whether they fit together on the court.
The battle for the Big Apple: The Nets have made it clear they want to be considered among the league’s elite. More than that, however, is their positioning to challenge the New York Knicks as the city’s basketball powerhouse. The Knicks have history on their side, but if they take a step backwards … [For more on NBA Watchability Rankings: No. 20 Brooklyn Nets, click here.]