BROOKLYN NETS 2012-13 SEASON PREVIEW
After years of playing in Newark and East Rutherford, the New Jersey Nets settled into their new home in Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season, undergoing one of the most remarkable one-year makeovers in the history of professional sports. The new silver and black Nets play in the ultra new state-of-the-art Barclays Center and have seriously revamped their roster to make a statement in a much bigger media market. While the 2011-12 Nets finished with a 22-44 record, the team suffered from injuries and didn't quite play up to its potential. With a series of new free agent acquisitions and a strong draft, the Nets could become a surprise playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
Heading into the offseason, the Nets' biggest priority was re-signing their best player, point guard Deron Williams, and they did just that by signing him to a five-year contract. The team also managed to retain midseason trade acquisition Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, both of whom provide a solid presence by the basket. In the draft, the Nets took a series of developmental prospects, but may have found a gem in Tyshawn Taylor, a guard from Kansas who could see playing time behind Williams this fall. Of course, the biggest move of the offseason for the Nets was the trade with the Atlanta Hawks for shooting guard Joe Johnson, who provides an immediate upgrade to the team's scoring attack.
Rounding out the rest of the Nets' roster, the team is hoping to see continued improvement from center Brook Lopez, who is only 24 and has averaged 17.4 points per game over his career. If he can overcome his injury for the 2011-12 season, his presence could instantly bolster the Nets' attack on both sides of the floor. But like any team with playoff aspirations, it will come down to the Nets' bench to step up to give their starters a breather. Guards C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks are players who will need to step up to give the team's big stars a chance to finish in the second half.
From top to bottom, the Brooklyn Nets boast a strong roster on paper, but ultimately it will come down to the team's health throughout the season and how quickly Joe Johnson and Deron Williams adjust to one another's style of play. Most importantly, having a true home court advantage in their new home could also pay dividends for the team's chances in the playoffs.
BROOKLYN NETS FRANCHISE FACTS:
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Stadium: Barclays Center
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: Atlantic Division
Rivals: New York Knicks
Dancers: Nets Dancers
Notable Players: Nate Archibald , Rick Barry, Julius Erving, Drazen Petrovic
Brooklyn Nets Championship Titles: 0
Brooklyn Nets Conference Titles: 2
Brooklyn Nets Playoff tickets
Brooklyn Nets Preview History
BROOKLYN NETS EXPERIENCE:
The Brooklyn Nets may seem like the unsung team in the New York metro area, as they have spent many years trying to gain the favor of the New York media, which was already devoted to the Knicks. Still, the squad's long history has seen its fair share of ups and downs and the organization has accrued quite the fan base throughout its history. Originally called the New York Americans, the team began in the American Basketball Association boasting star players such as Julius Erving and won two championship titles in 1974 and 1976 before the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.
In the early '80s, the Nets achieved surprising success, making it to the playoffs consecutively from the 81-82 season until the 85-86 season. While the Nets never made it past the conference semifinals, they allowed Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown to make his professional debut. The team was led by Darryl Dawkins, Buck Williams, Otis Birdsong and Michael Ray Richardson, and made some noise in the Eastern Conference before injuries derailed the latter end of the decade.
The Nets enjoyed sporadic success in the early '90s, but remained a middling team until the early 2000s. In 2000, the team hired Rod Thorn, the general manager responsible for drafting Michael Jordan when he was with the Bulls', to be the new president. He quickly set about building his championship-quality roster by trading for point guard Jason Kidd to set the tempo for the team's offense. The Nets made the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, but lost to the Lakers and Spurs in successive years. While the team played extremely well leading up to the pivotal series, it was a lack of experience and poor offensive performances that derailed their hopes for a championship.
The Nets dawdled in the playoffs in the years following their Finals appearances and constantly tinkered with the roster throughout. Even the arrival of superstar Vince Carter wasn't enough for the team to break through, and he was traded in 2009. In 2009, the Nets were committed to a youth movement and boasted one of the youngest and quickest teams in the NBA.
In late 2009, the team was purchased by Mikhail Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire. After years of playing second fiddle to the Knicks, the boys from the Garden State will continue to contend for the NBA championship that has eluded the team for so many years.