Dave D'Alessandro examines whether the Nets and Knicks overachieved or underachieved. And Dave D relied on three expert witnesses in Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Fratello and Hubie Brown, three ex-coaches with more than 1,500 NBA wins and a whole lot of television among them.
Although each --and particularly Brown-- note some caveats, the bottom line is that Brooklyn underachieved and New York overachieved. Brown is the most critical of both clubs, and notes he has his "suspicions" about which individual Nets may have underachieved. Here's some comments from each of the three on the Nets....
"I understand the Nets’ disappointment in losing a Game 7 at home. Losing a 7 at home, you never feel good about that – you look at it as a blown opportunity. Particularly getting down like they did so much in that game in the first half. But I wouldn’t call it underachievement. They won 49 games. The stretch where Brook Lopez was out early, if he wasn’t out they’d have won low 50s."
"I never bought into the Nets’ underachieving. Yes, there was disappointment they didn’t do more, but in their situation, when P.J. came in, the team was in turmoil for whatever reason – it’s not like it was 2-18, but they were 14-14. So there was turmoil within, and you knew that: There were things going on that it wasn’t a team that was settled in or happy with what was going on. P.J. took over and they ended up winning 49 and got homecourt. So if you’re fair, you say that the team needs some minor adjustments, a couple of pieces. But for the first time together with that group, they lost to a pretty good team that plays its butt off."
"If I was closer to the Nets’ situation, and watched the practices, and saw how the people who were healthy were accepting the new roles, and was able to sit in the locker room and in the coaches’ meetings to see which guys according to the plan – offensive and defensive -- were graded the lowest but had high expectations going in because of salary, peer recognition, all that – then I’d be able to give a more truthful answer. I have my suspicions, but you really have to be inside the team to know. Only only the Nets coaches know who didn’t give it to them -- who didn’t want the pressure, who didn’t play in pain, and who couldn’t give us what he had because we hid the pain. Because all we talk about in the media is those guys who aren’t available."