Mike Fratello, asked about the value of the Nets first round pick to the Cavaliers, told NBA TV that Cleveland fans shouldn’t bank on Brooklyn being “horrendous,” as they have been in recent years.
Instead, the YES broadcaster (and former Cavs coach) told Jared Greenberg, “this is a different Brooklyn Nets team.”
"All depends on what the Nets are doing this year. I think a lot of people are saying, 'the Nets are going to be horrendous this year.' They've been that way for the last three or four years. This is a different Brooklyn Nets team coming back. They've added a couple of pieces here and there. They made a trade. They picked some free agents up. And under Kenny Atkinson, they played hard. And they were close in so many games that they couldn't finish in the fourth quarter.
“And the Eastern Conference isn't all that powerful this year. There are a lot of teams who are starting over again. You want to look at Atlanta or Chicago. So maybe Brooklyn surprises a lot of people and that first round pick isn't quite as high as you think it might be tonight.”
Later Wednesday, Fratello doubled down, using the “P” word...
“I think they’re going to be better than everybody else gives them credit for. And with the diluted eastern conference, they could very well be in the playoffs next year.”
The unprotected pick goes from Boston to Cleveland along with Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder. Kyrie Irving goes to Boston after demanding a trade six weeks ago.
Much of the punditry about Tuesday’s trade, in fact, is based on the prospect of Cleveland getting a top 3 pick next year, as Boston did the last two drafts in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
In other words, a lot of the calculus surrounding the deal is embedded in the Nets draft position. As some have noted, unlike teams like Chicago and Atlanta, the Nets have no incentive to tank.