It’s tough being a fan of the NBA Nets franchise, especially for a guy that was born and raised in Jersey City, and moved to Brooklyn in the 90s, which means I’ve seen so much futility and losing, that it’s a bit sickening at this point. It’s been particularly rough these last few drafts; including the upcoming on Thursday, June 22nd. Now, being a Nets fan has never been a bed of roses, be it Derrick, Jalen or Malik, especially if like me, you’ve been a nets fan since players wore little shorts, but I had high hopes that new ownership, a new city and a new arena would usher in a new, winning culture; but unfortunately, it’s not even the “same ole Nets”, because it feels worse!
Historically, the Nets have mostly been a bad team in the NBA. Hell, their name was selected because it rhymed with Mets and Jets, which was shortsighted af, being that both those teams won championships early in their respective franchise’s history (both in the 1969 calendar year), but have more or less been a joke since then. In fact, the Nets have a similar history, because they’ve never won another championship since the two they copped in 1974 & 76, when they were the New York Nets in the ABA, and led by the gawd Julius Erving.
Dr J was the ABA MVP for three straight years during those championship years, from 1973-1976, but once the ABA got absorbed into the NBA, taking four ABA teams, including the Nets, it’s mostly been “lies and pain and sorrow”, as MC Lyte said. We’re talking mishaps, lazy athletes, morose franchise players, “trade me” written on sneakers, budding superstars dying in heart wrenching accidents; the Nets have had it all. They’re like the Bizarro World version of the San Antonio Spurs, who also came over from the ABA, but who have figured out how to cultivate a winning culture and have competitive consistency.
When my mom worked for the Newark Star Ledger back in the days that spanned across Chris Morris, Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson, Drazen Petrovic, Jayson Williams, and through the Kendal Gill, Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, Stephan Marbury era, she would get complimentary tickets to Nets games and pass them along to my brother and I. Although I went often enough, more often than not, I would see a losing product on the floor; which hasn’t changed since they hopped over the river.
The only real run they made at a championship in the NBA, was the Jason Kidd led teams which were in the running for a few years. Those teams with Vince Carter, Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles, JKidd et al, was on fire and super entertaining to watch, but they ran into Shaq and Tim Duncan in their primes, in the championship round, and went home a runner up in both 2001 and 2002
When Bruce Ratner purchased the team back in 2004, he sounded like he was putting an end to the incompetence and would start by moving the team into Brooklyn! This was great for me, as getting to the Meadowlands was a hassle and a half from Brooklyn, and wasn’t worth it for a perennial loser. After a brief stop in Newark, NJ, the team opened up Barclay’s Center for the 2012-2013 season, with an Avery Johnson coached team, led by Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace. They went to the playoffs, but got ousted by the Chicago Bulls.
At this point, Mikhail Prokhorov owned the team and he’s a big man, with a big personality, and he wanted to make a big splash in Brooklyn, so he set out to build a super team. It might have worked if he didn’t end up building a “super-old” team, via a trade with Boston. That move was summed up best by my man Matt Roff – “Danny Ainge did work, Billy King got jerked”!
That trade. That Bill King trade, made at the behest, nee’, the demand of owner Prokhorov, in a bid to win immediately, is still being felt to this day, and this was nearly five years ago. Trading all those first round draft picks was ridiculous! It seems like Boston will have Brooklyn’s first round draft pick, until the twins from Black-ish are in college. Since the Nets will do what they normally do, which is stink up arena’s across the league, they will always have a high draft pick, so you know, they can get better and stop stinking up arenas across the league.
But noooooooo (in Ralph Kramden voice), they trade the future for the past and once again, on draft night, Danny Ainge and Boston will have the last laugh! The Old Edition, of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry didn’t last long on the Nets, and while on the team, didn’t play many minutes. In fact, Paul Pierce was only there for one season!
In a move before this years draft, they trade away Brook Lopez and the 27th draft pick, for D’Angelo Russell and Timothy Mozcoff, which will stop the offense from running through a plodding, old school center, and add a dynamic player on the perimeter, to join with Lin, but c’mon bruh, that top draft pick would have been way better! So I’ll watch the draft, but with a tear in my eye like the American Indian from the litter commercial…and that dude wasn’t even Indian, he was an Italian actor. Just can’t win with these frickin’ Nets!