It’s not an easy time to be a Brooklyn Nets fan right now. The Nets won the draft lottery this year after finishing with the worst record in the league at 20-62 but had to give it up. That trade heard around the world, you know.
But hope remains strong among the hardest of the hardline the fanbase, the Brooklyn Brigade ... and if things are fine with the Brigade, well, it’s a good start.
The Brigade fans I spoke to are excited for the future of this team, particularly with the D’Angelo Russell trade. Losing Brook Lopez, a big supporter of the Brigade, is tough, and there’s some skepticism about the picks, but overall, things certainly look better now than they did when Sean Marks first arrived 16 months ago.
Dawn Risueño is as loyal of a Nets fan as you can find. She’s sort of the first lady of Nets fandom. A season ticket holder ... but that’s (literally) not the half of it.
She not only goes to every home game but also follows the team to the West Coast each year along with her husband, Johnson. The team takes the plane; Dawn and Johnson get there by car. If that’s not loyalty, what is?!?
Dawn is excited to see the youth movement in Brooklyn. Here’s what she had to say about Jarrett Allen ... and what she’s looking forward to.
“I'm intrigued by the draft pick and excited to see how Jarrett Allen will fit in with coach’s plans and with his teammates. It's been a very long time since we've had such a young team like this one,” she told NetsDaily. “So I'm hoping they will be here awhile and bring us a chip. Last year they played better then what our record showed, so now they should be in a better situation because of the new guys we got.”
As for D’Angelo Russell, Dawn said it’s tough losing Brook Lopez
“It will be very weird not to see Brook playing on the Nets, he'll be missed. We wish him nothing but the very best on his new team. He'll always be part of NetsNation and the Nets family,” Dawn said, but...
"I think that was a good trade and Russell will be an asset to our team. Give him a fresh start on a new team, no prejudgment,” she added.
Henry Hall is a season ticket holder, too, and you can find him at every single Nets home game. He doesn’t miss games and he isn’t going to jump to any conclusions about Allen before he sees him on the court. Still, he has trust in Sean Marks’ ability to find talent.
“I'm still reserved on my feelings about our draft picks,” Hall said. “There was absolutely no talk about Jarrett Allen —or the other pick [Aleksandar Vezenkov]— even being remotely considered. So, I didn't spend time looking them up. However, I will trust in Marks' judgment, as he showed me he knows how to find a gem in hiding Caris LeVert.”
Marks gets particularly high marks (yeah, we went there) on Russell.
"D'Angelo Russell brings a work ethic that isn't typical of a young point guard and he has that Big City swagger that is welcome in Brooklyn,” said Hall. “He can be the added playmaker that is needed to compliment Lin as a two-guard tandem and to provide a blow to Lin, especially if he is injured this season.
“I thought the trade was necessary to give us a PG who could pass efficiently, create his own shot and cut down on the turnovers, so we don't have a ‘PG by committee’ anymore."
“Our future is looking pleasantly bright, despite losing key draft picks thanks to the "All In" philosophy shared by Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov,” he added. “Marks has been able to salvage 1st round picks and I believe he will do so again in 2018, despite losing our 1st round pick outright to the Celtics.”
Another member of the Brigade, Marsh Shanelle, believes that the Nets made a great pick with Jarrett Allen.
“I believe that on draft night we really got a steal when we drafted Jarrett Allen, and then with the trade acquiring Russell from the Lakers I truly believe that our future is really bright!,” echoing fellow Brigade members. “Sean Marks has really laid down a strong foundation for our future and behind his leadership along with Coach Atkinson I think we will be a serious playoff contender very soon.”
A Nets fan his entire life, Miguel Gonzalez said he’s seen everything with this organization and he has high hopes for Allen.
“Allen pick is very interesting, he seems like an athletic big man that can run the court with the faster guards as opposed to slowing the tempo down. Since Atkinson ran this team more fast-paced I can see a role for Allen in this system. Not expecting much offensively but I can see him doing the dirty work for us down the line. With coach’s development background I'm looking forward to seeing how he does with Allen and all other the young guys on the team.”
As for me, I think that Jarrett Allen's style of play can fit in perfectly with Kenny Atkinson's system. Atkinson said he's the guy they wanted to draft all along so that's a great sign.
I'm especially excited with the trade for D'Angelo Russell and now with the East getting weaker by the day who knows maybe we can even sneak in as the 8th seed this year and really mess up Boston!
Brooklyn lost out on its pick and the same will happen next year unfortunately but Marks and management can’t send what happened down the memory hole. So they have to find a way to build for the future without lottery draft picks.
The Nets future still is uncertain but now there is a little bit more hope amongst Nets fans. I asked a few members of the Brooklyn Brigade what they thought about the Nets draft, how they think they did and also about their thoughts on the Nets future.