The emphasis on promotional nights (Joe Johnson Bobblead!) and promotions (free 11th game compliments of WPIX 11) suggest a New Jersey-eque recognition that it will be tough to get people into the building.
That's because the consensus is that the Nets will be lousy, and, for the first time in a while, the rival Knicks show more promise. Note the appearance of point guard Jarrett Jack on the inside cover. He had one of the worst plus-minus statistics in the league last year, and the worst of any player on a playoff team.
Heck, a Boston Celtic fan even founded a blog, Billy Kingmaker, to tweak the Nets for making that Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade and mortgaging their future draft picks to the Celtics:
Simple: on July 12, 2013, Nets GM Billy King won a secret bid on a contract with Celtics GM Danny Ainge to outsource the Celtics’ upcoming tank job, beginning in the 2015/2016 NBA season and continuing on until the 2018 draft. So confident was Danny Ainge in Billy King’s competence to deliver the lottery goods that last season he pink-slipped his in-house tank crew and headed straight for respectability.Lowered expectations
Even the faithful at NetsDaily are realistic. Writes uber-blogger Net Income (aka Bob Windrem):
NI: The expectation, the HOPE, is that this will work out in the long-term, but it is not BY ANY MEANS a given. The Nets free agency dreams for 2016 are realistic only if they can prove their young core, including 27-year-olds Lopez and Young, have the potential to contend at a high level. That will fall apart if the record is disastrous or one of the key players gets hurt. Insiders hope this year is the worst they will be, that long-term, they have assets to attract top players.Zach Lowe in Grantland rates the Nets 28 of 30th in watchability:
An unwatchable cast of vanilla slowpokes, misfits, and fringe players (and Thad Young) lifted from dead last by the only perfect “10” League Pass Minutiae score. The Nets, once again, sport the league’s best top-to-bottom broadcast experience.One ESPN expert, as noted by NetsDaily, called the Nets "'arguably' the worst team in the NBA."
Another ESPN piece declared the Nets "disastrous" as team and franchise.
NJ.com's Andy Vasquez pointed to what may be the year's slogan, from Johnson: "It's not that bad here."
And principal owner now claims he didn't bring star players for brand awareness:
We didn’t bring in star players for brand awareness, but as a person who signed off all these deals, I can say that the only thing I really care about is building a winning team, and I do believe that we had a fresh shot with all these trades. It didn’t work out, because sport isn’t predictable. That’s why we love it. But I can fairly say, our focus remains absolutely the same today.But former Nets beat reporter Stefan Bondy of the Daily News responded that indeed Prokhorov last year claimed a "great investment in the Brooklyn brand."