We keep hearing over and over again that we do. We can't win without a "star" on our side. For this very reason, people are ready to gut our team to get one. Do we really need one though?
Maybe the problem is people have a memory span that lasts only a short time. Allow me to take you down memory lane...
I started watching basketball in the early 90's, so I can't comment on anything before that. I was lucky enough to witness all the Jordan championships, but unfortunately, I caught Magic at the tail end of his career. Michael Jordan was a special player. An enigma to the game that defied everything after him (and possibly before him, I only know what I read about that). I remember the 2 years Jordan failed to win the championship. In 1994 it was Ewing vs. Hakeem. In 1995, Hakeem vs. Shaq. Jordan came back to win 3 more, and then began the post-Jordan era.
I remember in High School, it was during Jordan's final years, and I was arguing with a friend over who is going to "take over" once he leaves. I bet on Penny Hardaway (hahaha, that's hilarious looking back now), and my friend bet on Iverson. We were both wrong. The years following consisted of Shaq and Duncan. Matter of fact, since Jordan retired, the next NINE YEARS had one of those two in the finals.
Do you remember the Jason Kidd days? What was our problem? Most people immediately think "Big Man". This is half true. We were missing a big man all together in the Carter/Kidd days, but what about the days of the finals? We had Kenyon! We had Tmac! Dikembe! What we didn't have, was a POST SCORER!
The point I am trying to make is, having a low post scorer is RIDICULOUSLY important in this league. Michael Jordan, like I said, was an enigma for this reason. I don't think we are ever going to see something like that again. Even Kobe right now has Pau in the post. How many times did we hear Marv Albert say "The Nets need a low post player, it makes the game so much easier, and gives the rest of the players time to relax because they can just throw it down there." He's right. Just look at the history. Outside of Jordan, I've seen Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan win championships in 17 (yes SEVENTEEN) year period. Since then, Kobe never won without Pau, and I have firmly held that despite the development of Rondo, the hot shooting from Allen, and great play from Peirce... the Celtics get no where without Garnett.
Which brings me to my original question: Do we really need a "star"? A lot of people here want to be the Thunder of the east. The big question then, of course, is "Who is our Durant?". Now Kevin Durant, in my opinion, is one of the best players in the league, so there is no question we do not and probably WILL NOT get a "Durant". We do, however, have Brook Lopez.
Uh oh, some people are going to stop reading right now. Look, I know Brook isn't YET a superstar in this league, but he is only 3 games into his THIRD SEASON. He is still young and will get MUCH better. All the tools are there though, he WILL be a star.
I was hoping to write this post without using the dreaded name, but I'm going to have to. While Carmelo is definitely a star, I think Brook Lopez will become much more valuable down the line; because he is a post player. Post players are NEEDED, and they are MUCH harder to find than perimeter scorers.
Flashback one more time to 04-05. I've always said that THAT year, Vince Carter was the best player in the NBA post-all star. When you take a look back at that roster, it's a big time eyebrow raiser that we won 42 games. That was all thanks to VC and his near 28ppg. That type of performance, is the best case scenario we get from Melo. It won't be enough though...
In the years following the VC trade, we realized we needed a post-scorer, and to our amazement, Nenad Krstic came along reallll well. We never got out of the second round though. You remember why? We had a GLARING weakness at the 4 spot.
During those years, we had Krstic, Jefferson, Carter, and Kidd. Carter and Melo are pretty much equals, maybe Melo being a bit better. Kidd and Jefferson however, are light years ahead of whatever we plan to fill the 2 and 3 spot with. Lopez is better than Krstic, but he will probably put Krstic like numbers with Carmelo and Harris jackin up shots.
In essence, if we trade Favors, we flashback to 2006. It's great for the short term.. I kind of miss going to the playoffs and praying for a miracle. Keep in mind though, it took us 6 years to find a PF after we traded Martin... and we've all learned we can't win without competent big men.
Besides, I've said this since pre-draft.. Derrick Favors is going to be a poor man's Dwight Howard. The were shockingly the same size in their measurements, and Favors, at 19, is ALREADY at 250 pounds. He has shown his willingness to get tough and fight for the ball, and so far has shown pretty much what Dwight showed his rookie year. The only reason I say poor man, is because somehow someway, Dwight got MORE athletic as he put on weight. I don't think that happens with Favors, but I can definitely see him getting stronger. He is 19. All of us older men in here can attest to puttin on around 10 lbs of muscle just by by biology from 19-21 (Those extra 20 lbs of FAT I'm carrying didn't come till 25). So I am certain he will hit the 260 mark at least.
At the end of the day, we have our star, we have our Melo, our Durant, and he is a Center.. one of the last remaining in this league. If you look at the numbers, Melo was averaging 20.8ppg his second year. Lopez, not far behind with 18.8. Matter of fact, Lopez is actually averaging a point more than Melo this season.. although it has only been 3 games. What makes Brook more valuable, is he does it in the post. We all saw the days of Carter. Sometimes you just can't get anything going driving to the basket. Sometimes you just need a big, strong body to go out there and out muscle the defense. I'll take Lopez as my star and build around him.
We have TWO legit big men right now. You realize that, as Nets fans, we've been complaining about getting ONE legit big man for ages??? We know better than any team how hard they are to come by, and now we have TWO. Let's settle down, and build around our star. Give them time to grow, and add those dime a dozen wings as time goes by. No need to rush things, we are Nets fans... we can wait just a little longer :)