Jake Appleman, fresh from his "Brooklyn Bounce" book tour, takes another look at the team whose first year in the borough he chronicled. It's a more interesting team and a more interesting story than the first year when as he notes the locker room "was an overpriced collection of relatively anonymous personalities."
Now you have Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who spread wisdom, and Andray Blatche, whose second year highlight was his announcement that he wanted to be called "Young Seymour," because he wants you to "see more" of him.
But in conversations with Nets officials, Appleman finds that the Nets are still "saying Hello (Brooklyn)" as the Nets marketing director admits. And that leads to a reinforcement of the theme that has given the Nets a little touch of the "endlessly romanticized borough."
Brooklyn is still the chant. Brooklyn is still the buzz word, still the brand. When the home team obtains possession at Barclays Center, it is noted emphatically that it is "Brooklyn’s ball!" Brooklyn is told to stand up before the fourth quarter. Brooklyn is asked where it is at during timeouts.
But ultimately, he asks, is that the smart thing? Hasn't the team's success on the court, at least in 2014 --and its personalities-- made it possible to associate the product with roster rather than the location of its arena?
Meanwhile, another ESPN writer, Bradford Doolittle, basically writes an obit on the Nets chances, stating...
This is as good as it's going to get for the Nets. They are the third-oldest team in the league, and the most expensive. All trends point downward from here, and the decline could turn into collapse if Lopez doesn't come back healthy next season.