Saturday, March 28, 2015

As Nets go down and up, ESPN ratings are ominous (but still surpass the Knicks)

The Brooklyn Nets go way up and down--or down and up. Earlier in the week, New York Times columnist Harvey Araton, on 3/24/15, wrote Owner’s Grandstanding Confronts Nets With a Dim Future:
They crossed the river and hit the ground bragging. They came to New York with high-minded intentions of taking ownership of it from the Knicks and walked the low road by placing a “Hear Ye” mural down the side of a building a few dribbles away from Madison Square Garden.
Their owner, Mikhail D. Prokhorov, handed over his checkbook to his general manager, Billy King, who seized the money and the moment to pursue deliverance of Prokhorov’s introductory 2010 promise of an N.B.A. championship “in one year minimum, and maximum in five years.”
The guarantee will expire this spring, with the underachieving Nets possibly excluded from the playoffs. As for city ownership, the Knicks are a joke but the Nets are the butt of it. Catastrophes are compelling. Moribund is monotonous.
One enduring question is whether Prokhorov had to sacrifice the future--trading away draft picks--to seize attention, and Araton, unlike some, believes it was "an imperative that Prokhorov created, nothing that the Brooklyn market demanded." (Sports scribes disagree.)

When the Nets lost to the Boston Celtics, a rival for one of the last playoff spots earlier in the week, NetsDaily termed it a big letdown.

But last night, when the Nets beat LeBron James and the powerful Cleveland Cavaliers at home, keeping playoff hopes alive, it was a "stunner", as the Post put it.

Lowly ESPN ratings

The Nets' mediocre performance this year reflects in ESPN's ranking of 29, next to last, in NBA Front Office Rankings 2015, which aim to assess "each team's front-office management on its guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success, both in the short and long term."

As noted by the Brooklyn Game, "The Nets fell the furthest of any team last season despite no major moves or changes in their front office, falling 14 spots from 15th to 29th, making the ranking a bit of a retroactive choice."

But the Nets, at 3.59 in the rankings, were still well ahead of the New York Knicks, ranked at an anemic 2.37.

ESPN also offered three sub-components of the ranking:
  • Nets coach Lionel Hollins ranked 23 of 30 (Knicks coach Derek Fisher was 30)
  • Nets ownership ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, Mikhail Prokhorov ranked 29 of 30 (Knicks owner MSG/James Dolan was well behind, at 30)
  • Nets General Manager Billy King and Chairman Dmitry Razumov ranked 30 (Knicks President Phil Jackson and VP of basketball Steve Mills were 29)

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