The season previews are starting to roll in. One of the first is HoopsWorld, which says the off-season could have been "truly transformational," but like most pundits, its writers suggests the big issues are health, chemistry and Jason Kidd's inexperience.
Three of the five HoopsWorld writers think the Nets will win the Atlantic Division while two others, Moke Hamilton and Lang Greene, call for them to place second, presumably behind the Knicks. The two dissenters point to the Nets age being the biggest issue (although the players in the Nets rotation last season played far more games than those who make up the Knicks rotation..)
On Kidd, Tommy Beer notes, "Trading in a basketball for a clipboard is often challenging enough, and the pressure of immediate expected success will only make it more so."
There are some interesting points scattered throughout the lengthy preview.
--Andrei Kirilenko was one of just two players last season to average at least 1.5 steals, 1.0 block, and 4.0 defensive rebounds per game (Kevin Durant was the other).
--Brook Lopez became just the second player since 2007 to average at least 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in the same season (Dwight Howard is the other player)
--Last season, Andray Blatche became just second player in NBA history to average more than 10 points and five rebounds despite playing fewer than 20 minutes per game.
--Not only did the Nets get Kirilenko to sign for the mini-MLE, but got him to agree to come off the bench, making him "one of the best value contracts in the NBA."
Overall, Beer and the others note the Nets are legitimate championship contenders. "The Nets not only imported an abundance of talent this summer, they also added championship pedigree and moxie to the mix in Brooklyn," added Beer.