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NetsDaily Season Preview Roundtable

The season is finally upon us, and the writers of NetsDaily answered six burning questions facing Brooklyn this season

Deron Williams inspired artwork by Daniel Perez of DPNY Studio
Deron Williams inspired artwork by Daniel Perez of DPNY Studio
Daniel Perez

1. What will the Nets record be this year?

Net Income: I've been struggling with this for a while. There's a lot of optimism, with the team's good health, depth, flexibility, etc. but on the other hand, I see a number of deficiencies, including in athleticism and defense. Two years ago, the Nets won 49 games with the same three stars they have now: Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. It's being argued that the Nets could win 49 games again, and they could, but that team was second in the NBA in rebounding with Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. Of course, this team has better shooting, greater depth and much,much better coaching. So I'm going to go with 50 wins. I have that much faith in Lionel Hollins.

Tom Lorenzo: I have the Nets winning 46 games this year. How about that? Sure, a lot will depend on health, but I think Lionel Hollins adds an element that gets this team off to a "normal" start. I called the slow start last year and was killed for it -- almost literally, but mostly figuratively -- but this year I see a more stable start to the season and think that with the East being top-heavy the Nets should be able to win 46 games. "Should be able to..."

Reed Wallach: I'm going 48 wins. I really don't know why 48, but I think that this team has the potential to be that good. Considering they play 12 games against the Knicks, Sixers, and Celtics, along with a majority of their games coming in the weaker Eastern Conference. If this team is really healthy, they could break 50, but I think that Lopez will take a few games off due to some injuries.

Anthony Puccio: I'm going to say 45-37, but that's only if Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are all healthy throughout the year. The Atlantic Division isn't very strong and it's also worth noting, in 2012-2013, despite Deron's lingering ankle injuries and the Nets essentially playing 3v5 on offense, the team still won 49 games.

Brian Fleurantin: I have them at 44 wins. Last year, I went super high on the win total last year and it came back to bite me in the behind. I think the losses in the offseason will hurt, but I still see them as a playoff contender. They get some injury luck with Durant and Victor Oladipo out of action when they play the Nets, but the three game Western trip starting on November 12 is going to be a tough test for this group.

Daniel LoGiudice: 49-33.  That was their record last time Brook was wealthy for a full season.  With a healthy Brook, I think they at least match that record.

Dexter Henry: This year I have the Nets winning 46 games. It wouldn't shock me if they wee a few games above that total or a few game below it. I like that the core of this team from 2 seasons ago is pretty much the same and they will play for a good defensive minded coach. However health will be the biggest factor to the Nets reaching their potential.

Ghoti: 38-44

Larry Fleisher: 45-37

2. How many games will we see from Brook Lopez? Deron Williams

NI: This is difficult despite the surgeries and good health so far.  I'm going with 74 games for Brook and 75 games for Deron.  I also think that Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko are in better shape this season and less likely to miss more than 50 games. That's not something that's talked about, but it's very, very important.

TL: I wish I knew this answer, but I'll say 72 from Deron Williams and 70 from Brook Lopez. That's probably a "best case" scenario, but I'll run with it. I'm feeling good.

RW: I think Lopez will have a minor injury, just my gut, and it won't be a serious issue. Lopez will not miss much, but he'll play like 66-70 games. Williams I have high hopes for. I think he could play 74-78 games, taking a few off here and there to nurse some wounds down the stretch of the season. He looks healthy, so it should stay that way.

AP: The optimism in me says 70 apiece with the 12 games missed being for rest. However, they have 18 back to backs this season, which may definitely play a factor in how many games they play. It's also Lionel Hollins' call. Last season, Kidd was extremely conservative with Kevin Garnett, so, we can never be too sure of how many minutes/games they will exactly play.

BF: I think we're gonna see 71 games out of Brook Lopez. I think it's fair to wonder if he'll make it through the year, but I see him playing well while missing the occasional game. As for Deron, I'll go with 78 games played. He's back at full health and that hasn't been the case in years. He's gonna need to be out there so he can regain his standing as one of the league's best players.

DL: 63 games out of Brook, 70 for Deron

DH: I think D-Will will be ok this year. I am going to give him 70 games. If the Nets get 60 out of Lopez and he is ready for the playoffs then that is a huge win. I will go slightly under and say he plays 55 games as I think the team will be very cautious with him.

G: Lopez - 45, Williams - 60

LF: Lopez 75, Williams 78

3. Who does better: Nets or Knicks?

NI: If the Nets don't sweep the Knicks, I will be very disappointed. The Knicks are the team with SERIOUS deficiencies in defense and athleticism as well as a rookie coach and a new offensive system that has never worked without Phil Jackson as head coach and Tex Winter as his assistant. The last time it was tried was with an admittedly young roster in Minnesota. Kurt Rambis coached those teams to 32 wins in two years.

TL: Better at what? Basketball? I think the Nets. I give the Knicks credit for being markedly better today than they were just months ago, but I think it's going to be another year or two before we see them as a serious contender.

RW: Nets, and it won't be close. The Knicks have some real problems, like lack of a true big man, and defensive threats. The Knicks may lose 50 games, while the Nets at worst can go .500 if they remain healthy. If the Knicks make the playoffs, that will be a success for them while the Nets goal should be the second round and farther.

AP: Nets. I see the Knicks finishing just short of the eighth seed with a similar record to last season.

BF: It has to be the Nets by default right? The Knicks look like they have a plan as to what they want to do going forward, but I don't think that roster with the exception of Melo is good enough to compete for a playoff spot this year. Aside from being a team to watch because they're crosstown, I'm really eager to see how they do with the Triangle. I think Brooklyn is closer to playoff contention and because of that, they'll be better this year.

DL: Nets by about 5 games.  Brooklyn's depth is what makes them the better team.

DH: Nets. However I see these two teams battling for a mid to lower playoff spot in the East. I give the Nets the edge because their core has been together longer and they are currently a better defensive team.

G: The Knicks are run by Phil Jackson.  The Nets are run by - I don't know - Dmitri Rasumov, maybe?  I'm still not sure.

LF: Knicks

4. Who will be the MVP of this team?

NI: It has to be Deron Williams. If it's not, well, I will have to revise my win total downwards. He makes the team go. He's healthy and he's motivated. He's surrounded by players he trusts and a supportive coach. If that's enough, I don't know what it is.

TL: It has to be Brook Lopez, right? If he misses significant time, this team is looking at a 7th seed, tops. If he's healthy and plays 70 games, they can push for a 4th seed in the East. I don't see any other player with an impact like that on this team. You can't run Lionel Hollins' offense with Mason Plumlee at the center in the same way you can with Lopez. They're do different players. The Nets need Lopez to be healthy this year, thus making him the MVP.

RW: His name rhymes with Neron Milliams. If the preseason was any indication, Williams looks to be in the best shape during his tenure with the Nets and his confidence is back. I don't think he will put up superstar numbers anymore, there is just too much talent on this team, but I think that he could certainly post 18 points and 8 assists, while also being a major threat to go for 30 if teams don't prepare for him.

AP: Deron Williams. As we've heard all off-season, Deron has a different "edge" to him this season. He's healthy, he's motivated, and he's ready to be one of the elite point guard's the game has to offer.

BF: Hmm, I'll go with Joe Johnson. In a lot of ways, he was the steadying force for the Nets last season and if Lopez and Williams end up missing an extended amount of time again, it's gonna be on him to pick up the slack.

DL: If he stays healthy, it'll be Brook.  If not, i think Joe carries the team like he did last year at times.

DH: A new season and nothing has changed. It's all about D-Will! He is the most valuable player and the team will go as far as he takes them. I think Williams knows this is a big year for him and I believe he will rise to the challenge. With that being said it wouldn't shock me if Joe Jesus ended up being the teams most consistent and most valuable player.

G: Joe Johnson, assuming the mileage doesn't catch up with him.

LF: Joe Johnson

5. Who will be the biggest surprise of the team?

NI: Jarrett Jack. I have already forgotten he played poorly in Cleveland last season. I see the guy who played so well not just in Golden State two years ago, but the guy who averaged 17 points a game in New Orleans. One reason I think D-Will will play so well is that he is the perfect back-up and running mate. They have known each other since high school, respect each other and understand their potential as individuals and teammates. I'm very excited about Jack.

TL: I'll go with Bojan Bogdanovic as the biggest surprise. I need to see it done on this level, in meaningful games, before I say that someone is "for real." And while I think Bogdanovic can be "for real," I'd like to see it first. With that said, I'm probably going to be pleasantly surprised by what he brings to this team, which will make a one Mr. Income look at me like I'm crazy -- "Have you not been reading our site for the past 2-plus years?" -- but who doesn't love a pleasant surprise? So, Mr. Bogdanovic, surprise me.

RW: Kevin Garnett. KG is motivated after a career worst year and started working out much earlier than last season. If this is it for him—it very well could be—he will want to go out with a bang. I think that Garnett will not be as limited as he was with Jason Kidd coaching, and he will thrive with a full season of Brook Lopez sharing the hardwood with him. Garnett's motivation alone will yield a better season than last year.

AP: My initial thought was Mirza Teletovic, but I think a lot of people are sleeping on the acquisition of Jarrett Jack. On first note, it looks like Hollins will utilize him well with the new offense. Whether Jack be running the point for the backup unit or playing side-by-side with DWill, I think he's going to have the opportunity to have a big season. I wouldn't take his numbers last season too serious.

BF: I think Mason Plumlee will surprise some folks. I think questions about how he will play with Lopez and Garnett are legitimate, but I  see him playing well and building off of a good rookie campaign.

DL: I'll give you two: one realistic, one a little more bold:

Realistic: I don't think AK-47 bounces back.  He's already having back spasms.  At this point, I think he's a 50 game player.  I think his numbers this year will be closer to last year's than his career averages.

More bold: I think Markel Brown could have a larger role outside of playing solely during garbage time.  I think by mid-season, Markel could supplant Alan Anderson in the rotation.  The Nets really seem to like him and his insane athleticism, something the Nets lack, can not be ignored.

DH: Biggest surprise of the team will be Bogan Bogdonovic. In a good way..... We know he can shoot but I think the Brooklyn faithful will be surprised at how well rounded his offensive game is. He may actually make fans forget about the guy who wore #34 last season.

G: I'll say the biggest surprise is a mid-season trade of Lopez and/or Williams and/or Johnson that ushers in a new era of tanking.

LF: Jarrett Jack is better than we thought.

6. What will be the final outcome this season?

NI: Mikhail Prokhorov will have to get married. They should make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Prokhorov turns 50 in May. Time to settle down.

TL: The Nets will surprise people and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but lose there to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lionel Hollins will get a few COY votes, Lopez will get some MIP votes, Kirilenko will get some DPOY votes, Garnett will retire after this season and Bogdanovic will get a few ROY votes. While that may not be an ideal outcome, don't worry Nets fans, Kevin Durant is only a few summers away.

RW: In an ideal world, the Nets win the Atlantic Division, shock the Bulls or Cavaliers in the second round and lose in six games to the other team they didn't face in the second round. That would be an incredible outcome, but it isn't likely. I think the Nets reach the second round as the 5 seed, losing the Atlantic Division crown to the Raptors by three games. Second round is a solid outcome for a team that had so much turnover from last season and would have to be the Bulls or Cavs, who may be the two best teams in the league.

AP: No injuries, best case scenario: 45-37, third seed in the East with a run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

BF: Another playoff appearance before ultimately bowing out in a competitive first round series.

Major injuries, worst case scenario: 39-43, ninth seed in the East.

DL: Definitely will make the playoffs.  I think they're a 5-7 seed in the east.  If they can grab the 5 or 6 seed, I think they can win at least one series and then probably lose to Cleveland or Chicago in the 2nd round.  If they fall to 7 or 8, they're a first round exit.  Im leaning towards a 6 seed and losing in the 2nd round.

DH: Nets will be in a battle for the division all year long (I don't believe in Toronto). However their ceiling is a second round team if all breaks right. I don't see them getting past the first round this season. 46 wins under a new head coach and a playoff appearance is nice to build long as the coach doesn't bolt for the second consecutive offseason.

G: Another year, another new coach, another new system.  Maybe this time they will get out to a hot start instead of suffering through that "adjustment period" they always seem to need before figuring things out.  If they can get set up quickly and everyone stays on the court, the playoffs are certainly not out of the question.  They may even be buyers and take one last shot at glory before everything inevitably falls apart.  Unfortunately, the frontcourt is thin and too reliant on the ancient Kevin Garnett.  There really isn't room for anyone to miss significant time, and it's hard to feel confident that won't happen.  It's more likely the falling apart has already taken place.  PREDICTION: 11th

LF: Second round.

And now for some other voices from the Nets blogosphere...