Through their first five games, they’re scoring just 89 PPG (29th in the NBA), giving up 104 PPG (23rd), have an Offensive Rating of 96.1 (29th), and a Defensive Rating of 111.7 (27th). Their best player is Joe Johnson, who at 34 years old is no where near the superstar he used to be despite a contract that makes him untraceable. Their biggest offseason acquisition was Andrea Bargnani.
They are your 2015-2016 Brooklyn Nets and wow, are they bad.
It wasn’t too long ago, 2012 in fact, that Brooklyn was the most fascinating franchise in the NBA. They made the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, constructed the beautiful Barclays Center, had Jay-Z as a part owner and a crazy Russian as their majority owner, traded for superstar Deron Williams, and seemed to be on the brink of toppling the Knicks as Kings of New York.
Boy, how things have changed.
For one, all of the hype around an NBA team being in Brooklyn has subsided. Despite successes (they’ve made the playoffs all three years since making the jump across the Hudson), the Nets have continued to be the Knicks little brothers in New York, regardless of flashy hats and gear. In fact, since making the move, Brooklyn has seen their record steadily decrease from 49 wins, to 44 wins, and finally last season down to just 38 wins.
While the Barclays Center is still amongst the leagues best arenas and has almost certainly overtaken Madison Square Garden as the most popular performance center of New York, Jay Z sold his stake in the franchise last year and that crazy Russian owner is, well, crazy. Oh, and he supposedly was shopping the organization last year. That too.
Superstar acquisitions like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, who combined had contracts worth over $200 Million, fizzled out soon after coming to Brooklyn. Williams averaged just 12 PPG while shooting a career worst 39% last season before leaving the Nets in Free Agency. Johnson, meanwhile, has averaged just 15 PPG throughout his career in Brooklyn despite having the second highest-paying contract in the NBA behind only Kobe Bryant.
There was also that Celtics trade. Oh GOD, the Celtics trade.
Before the 2013 season, the Nets would trade to acquire multi-time all-stars and probably Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. Okay, hey, those are three pretty good players! Sure, Garnett was 36 and both Pierce and Terry were 35, but they could still get the job done for the right price!
The Nets did not get them for the right price. In fact, they may have gotten them for the worst possible price available. Remember when looking at what the Nets gave up in the next paragraph not to cry just a little.
The Brooklyn Nets would trade away Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Kieth Bogans, first round picks for 2014, 2016, and 2018, as well as the ability to swap 1st round picks in 2017. W-W-What?
That is five legitimate NBA players and four first rounders in exchange for three former stars well past their prime. It’s hard to imagine a worse trade not just in the NBA, but in life. A first born child for a used Subaru Outback? Your bank account for a refrigerator? I honestly don’t know.
Shockingly, the Nets are five games below .500 since the trade and neither KG, Pierce, or Terry are now members of the Nets organization. So, really, the Nets gave up almost all of their meaningful draft picks through 2018 for a couple seasons of being just below average. Well done.
It’s really no surprise that the Nets are so bad now. They went all in on winning a championship with a whole bunch of vets, it didn’t pay off, and now they’re stuck in limbo. They’re still paying Joe Johnson a whole lot of money this year, plus just inked Brook Lopez to a huge deal worth $20 Million a year and won’t have their best possible first rounder until 2019. If it wasn’t for the explosion in cap space this offseason, there would truly be no hope for this franchise for at least another five years.
Luckily, there is that explosion and Johnson’s contract is up after this year, meaning that if they’re smart, Brooklyn can potentially rebuild through free agency. Sure, the Nets have shown literally no ability to judge talent and have somehow messed up on nearly every signing, but let’s just say they finally fix that. Already we’ve heard that Mike Conley is on their wish-list for this offseason, with names like Eric Gordon and Bradley Beal sure to draw attention from Brooklyn as well.
Who knows, maybe they finally manage to hit on a free free agents and trade and do a quick fix this offseason, but for now, things are grim for the Brooklyn Nets. Very. very grim.
Suddenly, this is a roster that consists of Johnson, Lopez, Shane “Tiny hands” Larkin, Andrea Bargnani, Thad Young, Wayne Ellington, and Markel Brown. The Nets are 0-5 with no hopes for this season. They’re the second worst offense in the league while simultaneously being the fourth worst defense, generally a formula that is not designed for success.
They aren’t getting better anytime soon and quite frankly, it’s depressing seeing an organization that once seemed so promising be ran into the ground due to the pressure they place on themselves to win immediately.
They’ll always have this though. So all things considered, things are still pretty sweet because an alley-oop like this carries for at least a couple decades.
— NBANewsAnd1 (@NBANewsAnd1) September 27, 2015
All statistically courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, and ShotAnalytics.com
Sean Linhares is a Sports Communication major at West Virginia University. He is originally from Pine Bush, New York but don’t Google that because you might not like him anymore (It wasn’t him, we checked). You can follow him on Twitter @LINhares_Sanity