Just past the halfway mark of the 2023-2024 season and the Nets have once again managed to disappoint the fan base. Sean Marks, the guiding mind behind the team, has left us with a team that has no true superstar (no apologies necessary to the wonderful Mikal Bridges) but an enviable roster of role players and mostly third options on good teams, all seemingly available for trade deadline deals. When Brooklyn reached the 30-games mark, the team was a .500 club and at risk of justifying the decision to retain Jacques Vaughn as its head coach. Since that moment, the team has gone 2 - 11 with what can only be called anomalous wins against the Thunder and Lakers. In too many of those 11 losses, the Nets have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, two of them involving overtime, just to add a bit more spice to the mix. Fourth quarter failures have come against teams such as the Cavaliers, Heat, Clippers and Knicks, as well as lesser teams. All this is to say that Brooklyn fans have yet another season through which we wish to fast forward as quickly as possible.
This is a desire that has become frustratingly familiar to the Brooklyn faithful. We are being taken advantage of, as well as taken for granted. In 2019, Sean Marks put the fanbase on a wild ride when the Clean Sweep fell into his lap. Ever since, our hopes have been dashed and thwarted in some incredibly (Shakespearean, Orwellian or fill-in your adjective choice) ways. I have defended the Marks regime with the proviso that his instincts have been good (he has found talent on a budget, repeatedly) and when he managed to bring in Durant, Irving and Harden, well, that pretty much said it all. We have now had more than a few seasons to evaluate and judge the results.
The conclusion I have reached is it is time for the Nets to retrench. While I was willing to excuse and rationalize the lack of success of the previous seasons, this season is a disappointment that cannot be excused and rationalized. This team, as earlier alluded to, has decent talent throughout the roster. Despite the functional "no-show" of Ben Simmons, the Nets are stocked with more than capable NBA rotation players. Yes, there have been injuries (welcome to the NBA!) but this team has won games without many of its players, this season. In the midst of this current skid, I found myself coveting another team's coach and wondering how differently the season would be with this coach. I wonder how many of you have thought to yourselves, "What would Thibodeau do with this roster?" I am pretty sure our defense would be a legitimate presence, if nothing else. Needless to say, this post is meant as a vote of no-confidence in Marks and Vaughn (as much of a nice guy as he is).
The inexplicable slide of the last 13 games is the most damning indictment of the failures of Marks and Vaughn. Roster construction and coaching are particularly weak, this year. The team has lacked a true point guard to organize and distribute. The inability to institute a stout defense given all the length and athleticism on this roster is malpractice. The lack of a consistent role for Cam Thomas is probably its own fanpost. Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, I beseech you, please seriously consider cleaning house and starting with another basketball vision.