By Eddie Castro
Three wins and seven losses, that is the Brooklyn Nets current record as they sit in last place in the Atlantic Division. Did anybody see this happening with their star-studded starting lineup? This is definitely not the start Jason Kidd had in mind when he was named head coach back in June. The team had high expectations after a great season last year and seemed to be a perennial threat against powerhouse teams like the Indiana Pacers and the 2-time defending champs the Miami Heat. Through 10 games, the team looks completely lost. When asked about their losing woes after a 108-98 loss at home to Portland, coach Kidd seems to be willing to take most of the heat stating, “It was just bad coaching”. “The guys are playing hard.” Nice minispeech Kidd but it isn’t going to get your team wins.
Although it may seem like bad coaching, according to Kidd, he shouldn’t take all the heat. The Nets (as a team) are dealing with injuries and showing their age as well. During their 3-game road trip, point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez both sustained ankle injuries and have not played since. Those two players usually account for about seventy percent of the team’s offense. With Lopez and Williams out of the lineup, it leaves the older guys like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to pick up the slack. Pierce is still trying to capture his swagger in a Brooklyn Net uniform as he struggled (yet again) in the game versus the Trail Blazers on Monday night. Garnett looked to have been Brooklyn’s superman on Monday with his early productivity on the offensive end hitting six of his first seven shots. Then the second half came and the wrinkles and gray hairs began to show as Garnett missed 10 of his last 12 shots. After scoring a staggering 40 points in the first quarter, the Nets could not match Portland’s energy. Brooklyn shot 9 of 41 from the field in the second half. The team has lost five of their last six games.
It is really unfair to ask for so much from Pierce (age 35) and Garnett (age 37). Both are in the NBA’s top five list for most minutes played. Fact of the matter is, this current Brooklyn team has to play better. Yes, they may be a little older in terms of their roster but Garnett and Pierce aren’t chumps. The team must get a healthy Deron Williams back and find a way to get more touches for their big man, Lopez, who can give the team 20 points and 10 rebounds in any given night. No more talk about how they need time to learn how to play with one another. When you get a cut, you treat it before it gets infected. A record of 3-7 can end up turning into 10-20. By then, the talk will be did Prokorov make the right decision giving up all those draft picks for two players who are approaching the end of their careers. If this is going to work and make the Nets the great team we all expect in Brooklyn, it has to work sooner rather than later.
Sports Notes: (Basketball) Both the Knicks and Nets are a combined 6-13. Definitely not something for New Yorkers to be proud of. The Nets look to get things together in Minnesota against Kevin Love and the Timberwolves on Friday night. The Knicks, too are on the verge of a season meltdown. They just look awful without their defensive anchor Tyson Chandler. The team will try to do one better than their crossriver rival Nets as they head back home to play a tough Indiana Pacers team led by Paul George. (Football) The Jets made history this past Sunday, history in which they do not want to be included, becoming the first team in NFL history to have alternate wins and losses through the first 10 games. Quarterback Geno Smith tries to avenge an awful performance he had in Buffalo as the team visits coach Rex Ryan’s old stomping grounds in Baltimore in a matchup against the Ravens. The Giants have now won 4 straight after an 0-6 start. Yes, Giants fans, the word PLAYOFFS can now be used. However, the Giants have a tough game coming up when they welcome their division rival the Dallas Cowboys. This game could very well determine whether Eli Manning and the Giants have playoff football in their future. (Boxing) Former #1 “pound-for-pound” champion Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring trying to snap a two-fight losing streak as he prepares himself for a bout against Brandon Rios. Can the “Pac Man” find his way back to greatness after the most memorable setback of his career? Stay tuned.