(Bojan Bogdanovic putting in two of his 44 points on Tuesday night – @BrooklynNets)
The Nets took on the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at Barclays Center, and the word associated with the two teams at the moment is the future.
The Nets have had some recent enthusiasm lately, as they have a new General Manager, Sean Marks, a new training center, and have actually won some games lately.
This should not overshadow the fact that the Nets so not have any draft picks for the next few years and their roster only has two solid NBA talents, Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young.
The Nets haven’t even started the rebuilding process yet, as this season was about clearing out big contracts like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson and players you can’t build a team around like Andrea Bargnani.
It is hard to see how many guys on the current roster Marks keeps. The only obvious ones to stay for next season are Bojan Bogdanovic, Donald Sloan, Wayne Ellington, and the two players they got in last year’s draft, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough.
Marks does have a San Antonio Spurs pedigree, and the Nets will be counting on him to find diamonds in he rough, like Sean Kilpatrick, who he signed to a 10-day contract recently.
Kilpatrick had great success in college at Cincinnati, but has had a hard time sticking in the NBA. He has done a fine job with the Nets, averaging 123.7 points since he joined the Nets on February 29. He had scored in double figures in five of his seven games, including 19 points on 6-9 from the field, 3-4 on threes, with two rebounds and two assists, on Tuesday night
By contrast, Philadelphia has a very young roster filled with top draft picks from the last few years.
The Sixers used the third pick in last year’s draft on 20-year old Jahlil Okafor, the Duke star who is averaging 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds this season.
Nerlens Noel, a month shy of being 22 years old, was acquired by Philadelphia in a Draft night trade with New Orleans in 2013. The former Kentucky star is averaging 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds this season, his second in the league.
The other blue chip they have is Joel Embiid, the Kansas star who has missed this whole season with a foot injury that required surgery.
The Sixers also have had the same coach to groom these players, Brett Brown, who comes from the Spurs. This is far different than the revolving door of coaches in Brooklyn.
On Tuesday night, the Sixers were without Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, and Okafor when they took on the Nets, and it showed. This is not a great team to begin with, and you take away three of their starters, they turn into a semi-pro team.
There was no defense at all on both sides, and the Nets feasted, putting up 71 points in the first half on the way to a 131-114 win.
Bojan Bogdanovic had a career night, as he put up 44 points on 17-27 from the field, with 4-9 from the field, with eight rebounds and two assists.
Brook Lopez had 18 points and 10 rebounds, the first time he has cracked double digits in rebounds in quite some time. Thaddeus Young had 14 points and 16 rebounds for a double-double.
For the Nets, it is hard to put any stock into this win, considering they lost in Philadelphia on Friday night.
It also is hard to take Nets wins like this seriously, when they beat a team that threw in the towel in this season and is “tanking” to get a better draft pick. The Nets, of course, do not need to “tank” as their pick is going to the Boston Celtics.
Nets Interim Head Coach Tony Brown what stood out to him in this one compared to their prior two times against the Sixers, “Listen, they played well against us the past two games. Obviously, we haven’t handled the pressure as well as we should. More than anything, scheme-wise, what we ran on offense or defensive schemes, it was more about our mindsets and that’s what I approached the game talking to them about. We have to play a little harder, our intensity has to be a lot better, we have to raise that level and I thought they responded. Obviously, anytime you score 71 points in the half, for us that’s a tremendous achievement. The biggest thing was trying to come back out in the second half and try to make sure we did what we did in the first half. Play hard, play smart, move the basketball, help someone else get a shot instead of you forcing up one, and for a stretch there we didn’t do that. They cut back into the lead and disrupted our flow a little bit, but we found a way. (Bojan) Bogdanovic held us together. he had a huge night. It was great seeing him shoot the ball the way he did and we kind of rode his back a little bit.”