In the fourth of a five-part installment reviewing the state of the Atlantic Division heading into the 2013-14 NBA season, John Finger looks at the Brooklyn Nets:
2012-13 record: 49-33 (second place in Atlantic Division)
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Alan Anderson, Andray Blatche, Shaun Livingston, Mason Plumlee and Jason Kidd … as coach.
Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, D.J. White, C.J. Watson
Projected starting five
PG – Deron Williams
SG – Joe Johnson
SF – Paul Pierce
PF – Kevin Garnett
C – Brook Lopez
Jason Kidd is one of four coaches in the NBA to have landed his first head coaching job with no prior coaching experience. Doc Rivers, Mark Jackson and Kevin McHale are the others. Kidd is also the first coach to go directly from the court to the sidelines as a head coach since Lenny Wilkens took over the Trail Blazers in 1975.
The Nets didn’t fool around last summer when they traded for Garnett, Pierce and Terry and added Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche via free agency. If that wasn’t enough, the Nets took Kidd from the Knicks' backcourt and gave him the head coaching job.
Clearly, the Nets are going for it. With Garnett and Lopez in the frontcourt, the Nets have size and rebounding prowess. They also have depth in the backcourt with plenty of shooting and scoring ability.
That said, the Nets have seven players over 30, so this isn’t a long-term project. They have to win now.
The Nets are paying the luxury tax this season, but whatever. A championship run along with a regular-season rivalry with the Knicks will be the talk of the NBA. And since the Nets and Knicks are the class of the division, a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the playoffs is reachable.