NEW YORK, N.Y. — Tom Brady’s run as Boston’s biggest hero is temporarily on hold. That honor currently belongs to Billy King.
In Brooklyn, meanwhile, he remains the biggest loser.
After King traded their unprotected first-round pick to the Boston Celtics, the Nets and their fans (and even King) were rooting against embarrassment Tuesday night during the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery.
This time around it didn’t work and things are dark and gloomy in the land of the Brooklyn Nets. Talk of “sunk costs” are fine for front office talk. But fans hurt.
The Nets, who finished with the worst record in the NBA, surrendered what should’ve been their compensation for a historically bad season: the first pick in the NBA draft. Oh yeah, and the Celtics are in the Eastern Conference Finals too.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving for the Nets, and what feels like endless rewards for Boston.
Brook—I mean, Boston, went into Tuesday with a 25.0 percent chance of landing the overall No. 1 pick, likely to be Markelle Fultz out of Washington. Of course there have been rumblings about trading the pick.
From a Nets perspective, none of it matters at this point. The pick is theirs. But it’s hard not to think that it should've been the Nets who walked away with the first pick. This should've been Mikhail Prokhorov sitting in that seat waiting for the pick. Maybe even Brook Lopez. It should've been the Nets and its fans that walked away with some sort of reward after a gruesome 20-62 season.
Mikhail Prokhorov even told reporters that "the basketball gods smiled on the Nets" at the time of the trade.
We’re still waiting for the day the basketball gods smile on the Nets.
It wasn’t that bad prior to this season, but the worst is yet to come. The first pick sent to Boston, the No. 17 choice in 2014, became James Young, a 6'6" swingman out of Kentucky who's been close to a bust. Then they selected Jaylen Brown with the third pick of the 2016 draft, who looks to be a solid piece moving forward. The Nets, meanwhile, were able to swing a deal for KG, bringing back Thaddeus Young who was then traded for the ever-so-promising Caris LeVert.
Despite the hard times, pundits and fans give reason for hope going forward despite what’s transpired.
Bobby Marks, Assistant GM of the Nets at the time of the infamous trade, says the new coaching staff and managerial staff should give Nets’ fans some optimism going forward.
“I trust Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson with their plan to rebuild this team the right way. Kenny and his staff have shown that they have a plan when it comes to player development and it will be no different when the Nets add 3 picks in June.
“Despite the record, there is stability both in management and coaching and ownership at this point has shown that they will be patient which is critical to the long-term success.”
Doug Bearak, a long-time Nets fan, also sees light at the end of the tunnel for very similar reason.
“I think what Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson are putting together is real. It will take some time and I hope we can all stay patience, but I trust them. If you're a true fan than you can easily feed off the vibes our new personnel and players give off. The Brooklyn Grit is more than just another marketable slogan. Its real and I'm ready to see where it takes us.”
Both certainly aren’t far off. There are reasons to feel good, stability being one, but right now this is one of the hardest times to be a Nets fan. And this is coming from somebody who watched every game during the infamous 12-70 season.
At least they had their own pick.
CATCHING UP WITH HARRY GILES
We caught up with Harry Giles of Duke at the Lottery and said he was “intrigued” by the remodel of the Nets after Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson took over. He also mentioned how it’s important to have a reputable doctor such as Brooklyn’s medical director Riley J. Williams. Draft Express currently has Giles at no. 28 on their latest mock. The Nets will pick at 22 and 27. Is it worth taking a flyer on him?
- It’s Hard To Forgive Ex-GM King For Destroying The Nets - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN