Thursday, May 31, 2012

As Nets don't get lucky in lottery, warnings about a gloomy season (though much maneuvering to come)

"Could be a big night for brooklyn nets," tweeted Nets/Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark yesterday before the NBA Draft Lottery. But it wasn't--the Nets wound up sixth, just about where the percentages would have put them, and thus lost the pick to Portland.

"Disasterous for Nets," tweeted CNBC's Darren Rovell. "Lose pick. No hype into offseason." (He had previously suggested that, among all the teams, the Nets needed the top pick the most for business reasons.)

Well, they don't gain the hype from the number one pick. And the inability to draft Kentucky's Anthony Davis sets them back. But the Nets didn't so much "lose" the pick as not be lucky enough to get it.

No was there any intervention, as (admitted conspiracy theorist) Charles Barkley predicted--unless you count Rovell's tweet, "Conspiracy theorists have a new one tonight: The NBA sold Tom Benson the [New Orleans] Hornets w/the promise of the #1 pick."

Ruining the Brooklyn welcome party?

Nets fan Pete Tenney wrote on Bleacher Report:
Are we about to see a gut-wrenching chain reaction ruin the team's welcome party in Brooklyn?
Without a first-round draft pick, the Nets will helplessly watch the rest of the league get better as they don't have much firepower to pull off a Dwight Howard deal.
Deron Williams was promised a competitive roster around him, and was probably promised Superman from the day he arrived in New Jersey. Now it seems D-Will will be gone if D-12 can't be part of the show at Barclays Center.
...
True, the Nets will have money to go patch up the roster with big names on their way down (Kevin Garnett), but it is starting to look like the fun of Barclays Center this year will be more about Jay-Z and Bieber Fever, and less about an NBA playoff run.

Well, the Nets surely will be maneuvering and spending in the off-season, and they still have a shot at Orlando center Howard, but it just got a lot tougher.

GM's message: patience

Nets General Manager Billy King was quoted on the team's website:
"I think they've just got to be patient," King said. "I think it's understandable -- we didn't get the pick. But what you've got to do is really work at the Draft. I think back to one year (in Philadelphia): we didn't have a pick in the first round, and we were able to get Willie Green in the second round and Kyle Korver at No. 57; both of those guys are still playing in the League, and there are guys drafted higher than them in the first round that are out of the League.

"I think fans have got to look at it and have faith that we're going to do our work. If there's players we can add in the Draft, we're going to do it. But if not, there's free agents out there that we're going to go after, and we have the ability to sign them because we have cap room."
Wrote Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick:
• That other sound you heard was Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov cursing the basketball gods when he should have been yelling at himself. When Nets general manager Billy King proposed a deal to acquire small forward Gerald Wallace in March in exchange for a package that included the team's first-round pick (top 3 protected), someone should have asked the question of whether or not the 29-year-old -- whose nickname ("Crash") likely means he has 35 years of mileage on his legs -- was truly the sort of player who could inspire point guard/free-agent-to-be Deron Williams to stick around.
King has said that he plans on signing Wallace to a long-term deal when he becomes a free agent this summer, but the pick would have come in handy when he continued shopping for other talent to put around Williams. And for what it's worth, I'm not convinced that it's Dwight Howard-or-bust when it comes to the Nets' chances. There are other moves that can be made to appease him, but those moves just got a little harder.
Stern on Brooklyn

NBA Commissioner David Stern predicted a rivalry, according to Fred Kerber in the Post, and also made that hoary Dodgers analogy:

We are awaiting the summer to see how the Nets fulfill their assurances and their aspirations, but we have seen the Knicks moving up quite a bit, and I think that we are going to have, two sold-out arenas, not just for games against each other, but for all games,” Stern said. “I’ve been out to Brooklyn. It’s going to be kind of interesting. I’m not sure how much I’m going to drive there, but I’m going to get there and it’s probably easier not to drive.
...“Why not? You know what’s interesting? It’s Brooklyn, New York, but I consider it could be Brooklyn, USA. If it were just Brooklyn, it would be like I think the fifth-largest market in our league,” Stern said. “And Brooklyn ... is incredible at all levels of corporate society and life, and there are lots of people, not just Howard Schultz, who are looking forward to going back to a game in their home borough, so to speak.
“I think there’s going to be a real conversation and there are lots of baseball fans that see the Brooklyn Nets as a legitimate successor to the Brooklyn Dodgers. I think that we are going to have a great rivalry.”

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