Posted: August 27, 2013
Continuing our 10 days, 10 games preview of the PHILA BIG Game Plan, we turn our attention to one of the most intriguing teams in the league next season – the Brooklyn Nets.
After calling New Jersey their home for nearly half a century, the Nets finalized a long-anticipated move across the Hudson last summer, moving into Brooklyn’s state-of-the-art Barclay’s Center. With a new home, a new color scheme, and a largely new fan base, the team appeared to be heading in a different direction not just off the court, but on it as well.
Having posted a losing record in each of their previous six seasons, the Nets began their 2012-13 campaign on the right foot, going 11-4 through the month of November en route to Coach of the Month honors for then-coach Avery Johnson. Things quickly took a turn for the worse, though, with the Nets posting a 3-10 record over their next 13 games to fall back to .500. To the surprise of many, Johnson was fired and assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was promoted to interim head coach. The move provided the team with a spark, as they went on to win 12 of their next 14 games. While that torrid pace could not be maintained, the Nets were able to hold a near-.600 mark for the majority of the season, finishing the year 49-33 (.598). However, their success in the regular season did not carry over to the playoffs, with Carlesimo and the Nets getting bounced by a banged-up Bulls team in the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets subsequently parted ways with the former Gregg Popovich disciple and shocked the basketball world when they named legendary point guard Jason Kidd their head coach just 10 days after his retirement as a player. But that was just the beginning of the team’s offseason transformation.
Nets’ Key Offseason Moves
The Nets brokered a blockbuster deal with the division-rival Celtics on draft night that sent forwards Paul Pierce and D.J. White, big man Kevin Garnett, and guard Jason Terry from Boston to Brooklyn and forwards Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Kris Joseph, guards Keith Bogans, and MarShon Brooks, three future first round draft picks, and the option to swap first round picks during the 2017 draft to the Celtics. With likely Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on board, in addition to offseason signee Andrei Kirilenko, the Nets feature one of the most battle-tested rosters in the history of the league.
Guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, forward Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and center Brook Lopez will likely comprise the team’s starting five, which figures to be one of the league’s best, but their bench is equally formidable. Featuring 2009 Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry, defensive stalwart Andrei Kirilenko, rebounding specialist Reggie Evans, and 2013 Most Improved Player candidate Andray Blatche, not to mention Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston, the Nets have one of the league’s deepest rotations.
The team also selected center Mason Plumlee with the 22nd pick in the 2013 Draft.
• The Brooklyn Nets feature one of the league’s oldest rosters, with players averaging 28.4 years of age (their projected starters average 31.6 years of age). The Sixers, on the other hand, are one of the league’s youngest teams, averaging just 24.0 years of age.
• With Deron Williams and Joe Johnson at the guard positions, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Andrei Kirilenko at forward, Brook Lopez at center, and Jason Kidd behind the clipboard, the Nets have a combined 46 All-Star appearances between the members of their roster/coaching staff.
• The Sixers hold a 101-71 all-time series lead over the Nets, dating back to the teams’ first meeting on October 30, 1976.
Last Time They Met: Sixers 83, Nets 104 – April 9, 2013
Brooklyn got little production out of their three starters on the perimeter in this game – a combined 22 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds, but was able to secure a 104-83 win because of outstanding performance by Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez. Evans grabbed 24 rebounds to go along with his 17 points, while Lopez contributed 29 points and 11 boards. The Nets outrebounded the Sixers 67-34 and scored 58 points in the paint, while Philly scored just 30.
The Sixers were led by guard Nick Young, who scored 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench. Point guard Jrue Holiday added 15 and swingman Evan Turner scored 11. All but two of Philadelphia’s 13 players saw minutes in the game, with all 11 logging 10 minutes or more.