Let’s get this out of the way. The Nets are not playing well at all. Their record proves that.
It’s not like we are giving away any Star Wars spoilers here.
But after today’s fourth quarter meltdown which saw Brooklyn turn a close one into a 111-96 blowout by the Washington Wizards, the Nets are sit at 8-22 which makes them 14 games under .500 and the worst they have been since moving to Brooklyn.
To put it in perspective, the last major league team in Brooklyn to finish at least 14 games under .500 or worse was the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers, who were dealing with players serving in World War II and went 63-91. Before that, the last non-war torn team was the 1938 Dodgers managed by Burleigh Grimes, who went 62-91.
Needless to say the 2015-16 Nets are dealing with Brooklyn history here.
“It’s disappointing to be losing, period,” said coach Lionel Hollins. “I wasn’t here for all the Brooklyn years, so this is disappointing to be where we are, but we are where we are. We are struggling to get better.”
Simply put, the Nets highest paid player is not their best player and Joe Johnson, scoring a paltry nine points today only proves that he doesn’t merit the start with 34 minutes a night that Hollins puts him on the floor. Your shooting guard needs to be scoring more than that.
“It’s tough,” Johnson said. “There have been games where we played well, and then there were games we haven’t played well. Then we had games like this one.”
Fortunately after making a shade under $25 million this season, the Nets can bid him goodbye and use that money for younger player that hasn’t lost his shot.
For the record, the Nets will have about $40 million freed up this offseason to do some shopping, according to the New York Post and that should help the franchise going forward, although they still will have to surrender two of their next three first round picks to Boston with the Celtics having the right to swap the 2017 first rounder.
So it’s wait ‘til next year, but in the meantime, the team still has market its final 25 home games.
This is where the Nets do a very good job. In fact, the Nets can be considered the Anti-Islanders, because they market the team very well to its Brooklyn market, even though the product isn’t that hot on the court.
And with the Nets opening a $50 million practice facility in Sunset Park’s Industry City sometime in February, they will be fully Brooklyn’s team.
This is what will make the team survive and prosper in this market for the long term. The Nets have forgotten the Jersey past and moved forward embracing Kings County.
It’s working. Today’s loss was a sellout.
Maybe the Barclays Center marketing department should take that cue for the Islanders. Forget about Long Island and grab onto their new home. (And maybe make a few changes to the Barclays Center for hockey, too.)
In the meantime, enjoy the Brooklyn Nets show. They may be a few more losses like this, but it is certainly entertaining.