Almost any basketball fan would look at the Nets record over the last two years, see our failed attempts at Melo and LeBron, and attempt we're in a horrible situation. But really, we're not. We're in the best situation I have ever seen a team with a sub .300 record be in. And these are the reasons why. (Not necessarily in order of importance)
1) Our two young big men: Lopez may have slightly regressed from last year, but he's still a tremendous post scorer who plays passable defense and draws fouls and capitalizes on the free points. Favors may not be making a huge impact, but he gets his rebounds and only takes good shots. His unreal athleticism is often on display, and these two have a chance to be a real good big man combo down the road.
2) Our second team: Farmar, Morrow, Vujacic, Humphries, Petro: These guys are the best second team we have had in a while. They have a distributor who can score (Farmar), shooters (Morrow and Vujacic) and rebounding (Hump and Petro). Besides Petro, these guys are all viable NBA rotation players who all bring something positive to the team. Something necessary to being a good team in the long run is having a real bench, and we have that right now.
3) Youth. Favors has all the potential in the world and is only just beginning to capitalize it, and while he hasn't put up numbers yet, he's had his moments and games where you think, "man, this kid could be good." DJames will almost certainly be a good NBA bench player in his future. Farmar, Morrow, Hump, all still getting better. And possibly most important, picks. Say what you want about draft picks, they are still valuable, especially when you have the type of picks the Nets have. I can't imagine Proky will leave the draft without at least one guy with potential to be a star, and we have 3 (!!!) picks in 2012. We could net a guy like Irving, or one of the Joneses, and those guys have potential to be stars too.
4) Mikhail Prokhorov: While he may not be NBA smart yet, he's one heck of a businessman. He has thirst for a superstar but isn't going to go overboard for one, as he just proved. He has money for trades, most notably draft night ones. He can buy late first rounders to either pick immediate bench contributors or store guys overseas. Like him or not, this guy is an advantage.
5) A good Cap situation: We have no cap-crippling contracts. Outlaw is a bad, bad contract, but he's small enough to still give us flexibility. We have 4 guys on rookie contracts and two more on minimum salary. 3 sizable expiring contracts this year. We have flexibility for trades and free agency in the future. Think, the idea of being the star of a team in a big market has to appeal to a guy like Jeff Green, especially with all the positives that we have as mentioned above.
So, despite what the surface looks like, the New Jersey Nets are in a good situation. So let's have some optimism, hope, and patience for the future, because believe it or not, it's actually pretty bright.