The bad news for the Brooklyn Nets is that they are 3-10 in December. The good news is the month is almost over.
The Christmas holiday saw the Nets blown out in two more games against opponents with 25 combined losses, the latest setback coming to the Milwaukee Bucks. One day after the team’s CEO called out the Nets’ effort on Twitter, they responded with a 108-93 drubbing in Milwaukee.
The Bucks have now beaten the Nets, who played without Deron Williams due to a wrist injury, 13 straight times. The injury is added to further insult after the Boston Celtics clobbered the Nets, 93-76, on Christmas Day in Brooklyn.
After surging to an 11-4 start, the Nets are back to .500. They last found themselves in this position early in the season at 2-2 and several players remarked the preseason goal was to avoid a two-game losing streak.
The lofty goal has proven fantasy.
Aside from Brook Lopez, who collected 21 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to the Bucks, Nets starters shot 30.2 percent (13-of-43). As a unit, the Nets shot 38.6 percent.
While Williams’ criticism of Avery Johnson’s offense are warranted, the fact remains that no Net has consistently scored this season.
With the Nets’ carefree spending and loose trash-talking in the offseason, many expected a better product than delivered early in 2012-13. Murphy’s Law ensued, however, and the Brooklyn Nets remind the franchise’s fans of the New Jersey Nets.
The difference: the Nets are committed to this team for quite some time.
Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, and Gerald Wallace are all guaranteed four years at the Barclays Center unless other teams are willing to absorb their salaries.
Of the aforementioned core, only Wallace is not signed to a max contract. He will earn $40 million over the next four seasons.
Even Kris Humphries will make $24 million over two seasons.
Avery Johnson and Nets management need to figure out the solutions with the group assembled because unlike dismal seasons of Nets’ past, there is no light at the end of this tunnel. The players on the roster are the light.
The next big free agent and the next college standout are not coming to the Barclays Center.
That won’t stop the team from trying to pull the wool over the eyes of this fan base – promising information on playoff tickets.
Lost in the preseason hoopla surrounding the marketing of the Nets’ brilliant new arena and re-tooled roster was the concept that the Nets had to actually play the game. A better roster does not automatically translate into wins. The 2011-12 New York Knicks learned that. The 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers learned that. The Brooklyn Nets need to learn that.
But for whatever reason (or multiple reasons), the Nets sit at .500. Avery Johnson may call it bad luck, a tough schedule, tired legs, the stars not aligning, or any combination therein.
The Nets need answers, though, because a constant reminder of how hard the players “battle” on a nightly basis is not filling the wins column. It didn’t in Newark and it won’t in Brooklyn.
At some point, the future has to become a reality for the Nets. They don’t need to win “at some point down the line.” They need to win now.