spending three years (2015-2018) as one of the NBA Eastern Conference’s
doormats, the Brooklyn Nets have been making great strides over the
last two years to bring pro basketball respectability back to New York
City. It couldn’t come at a better time as the New York Knicks seem to
be floundering as an organization with no real direction.
None of this is going to be lost on sports gamblers who can already
score a future book bet on the Nets to win the 2019-2020 NBA
Championship at around 50-1 with online sports books located throughout
the world. While 50-1 might not sound like the Nets haven’t much of a
chance according to online bookmakers,
context presents a clearer picture. The only three Eastern Conference
teams rated higher are the Milwaukee Bucks (6-1), Philadelphia 76ers
(8-1) and the Boston Celtics (25-1).
To make positive changes in the NBA a team has to do two things: bring
in better talent and spend money to get that talent in the door. For
the three losing seasons beginning in 2015, the Nets went 69-177. The
first step was to bring in a low-profile head coach in the person of
Kenny Atkinson. He joined the Nets in 2016 under team owner Mikhail
Prokhorov, a Russian billionaire who moved the team from New Jersey in
2012. He entered with little pressure and the promise of time and
talent to turn the team around.
Bringing in the Affordable Talent
The next step in the facelift process was to bring in affordable
talent. During the 2018-19 seasons, several key players made clear they
could play at the highest level. Two players in particular gave Nets
fans a little something to look forward to in the coming seasons. That
would be SG Spencer Dinwiddie, who was able to come off the bench in
2018-19 and ignite the Net’s second unit to the tune of 16.8 PPG, and F
Caris LeVert, who has shown good steady improvement during his three
years in the NBA. He finished last season with 13.7 PPG average despite
missing 40 games mid-season due to injury.
The free agent class of 2019 was arguably one of the most talent-ridden
classes in NBA history. Thanks to team ownership, the Nets were huge
players in the free agent market right out of the gate. Within days of
free agency opening, the Nets scored three big name veterans to come in
and make the team immediate contenders. The first name to fall was SF
Kevin Durant. Through his arrival will be delayed while he recovers
from an Achilles injury, Durant will be bringing his career average of
27 PPG with him when he does arrive.
While waiting, the Nets will depend heavily on G Kyrie Irving, who is
coming over from the Celtics. Already an NBA champion with the
Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving comes to the Nets sporting 22.2 PPG over
his 8-year career. The third piece of the new three-headed monster will
be rebounding specialist C DeAndre Jordon, who has been one of the NBA’s top rebounders over the last seven seasons.
The talent is in place.
– It was just announced that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Co-founder and
Chinese entrepreneur Joseph Tsai will reportedly by the 51% of the Nets
he doesn’t already own.