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Russia's "Czar" Checks In

CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow

Vladimir Gomelskiy does color commentary for Russian basketball, a lot of it for CSKA Moscow, Mikhail Prokhorov's old team. He's their Mike Fratello except that Fratello is only the "Czar of the Telestrator". This guy could actually be a czar! He's also the son of Aleksandr Gomelskiy, the legendary Russian coach and friend of the Prokhorov family.  He's written two books, one on his father and one on the NBA. He is one of Russia's most knowledgeable experts on American basketball.

So SovSport, the Russian website, asked him to take a look at the Nets' roster with idea of devising a plan for its future.  Not much you wouldn't expect.  Also, you don't know how much he saw of the Nets last season .  Still, there are some insights here into what Prokhorov might be thinking.

First of all, Gomelskiy sees rebuilding as at least a two-year, three-step project.  "I don't think it's possible to correct everything in one summer", he says. He says there must be a plan based on inventory, stocking and image, and there must be one pre-requisite, a willingness to spend...without thinking about a profit, at least short term.

In inventorying the roster, he looks at it this way: "1. How valuable is the team? 2. What should be saved"

He sees the team's core as Brook Lopez, Terrence Williams and Devin Harris...period.  No mention of Courtney Lee or Yi Jianlian.  And of the Big Three, he thinks "individually they can not be the leaders, but they are highly skilled players, with whom you can build a team with winning traditions".  The rest, he says, should be "converted through trades".

The other valuable asset, he says, is Rod Thorn. "I have no doubt that Thorn knows plan A and plan B and Plan C, depending on funding...which will be provided."

As for restocking the roster, he looks primarily at free agency. 

Gomelskiy is no capologist, but he knows enough.  He thinks the Nets should go for two big stars and lists LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh specifically...if funds can be found. 

He also thinks a "much stronger person (than Kiki Vandeweghe) with previous experience in this position" must be hired as a coach.  "This coach should be able to find a common language not only with youth, but with mature players."  No names, Russian or American.

In addressing image, he says "I see no reason why New Jersey should remain in the shadows"

"Superficially, it looks as though the Nets are simply forgotten" in the New York competition, Gomelskiy argues.  He suggest a youth oriented marketing strategy.  "Various competitions, public training, master classes will attract new fans".  No mention of replacement jerseys.  

As for Brooklyn, go ethic, he suggests.  "We must lose no time, start with the fans from the area, given the peculiarity that Brooklyn is populated by immigrants from the Soviet Union and China, Puerto Rico and Italy, India and Mexico."

Finally, he suggests in Russian that Prokhorov show them the money...but spend with a plan.

"You can not even count on that to attract new fans to the stands...This is also a gradual process. So, of course, the main preferences of funding should be aimed at strengthening the team's structure. The formula 'star on the court = fans in the stands' has not been revoked", Gomelskiy says.

Don't expect quick profits.  "The first two or three seasons, you will need to invest much money. But we can assume that the team has already hit economic bottom club. And now with a sufficiently strong leadership, the process will incrementally go up".