If you had told me after one week of action that the Nets would be victorious against the one team they could not seem to solve last season — the NBA champion the Miami Heat — I would assume all is right with the Nets as the team enters its much-hyped second season in Brooklyn.
But I would be wrong.
Sure, the win over the Heat is impressive, but when it is sandwiched between losses to the also-ran Cleveland Cavaliers and (even worse!) the Orlando Magic, it is clear that the Nets’ players have a lot of work to do if they are going to reach the heights many pundits predicted they would prior to the season.
What is most troubling in the early going is the squad’s lack of rhythm. Some of that can be attributed to adding new players to the mix, some due to the depth of the roster with 11 guys figuring to average more than 10 minutes a night, but mostly it can be tied to new head coach Jason Kidd getting a feel for his new job and team.
In his coaching debut against the Magic, Kidd got a lot of guys a lot of minutes, but did little to stop a Magic team that began to pull away: no time outs, no Reggie Evans, professional rebounder, no arguing with refs. Nothing that a coach would typically do to energize his team. It was as if Kidd and his Nets weren’t prepared.
Yes, it was certainly a disappointing coaching debut from Kidd, but there is no reason to overreact. The Nets will be just fine. Garnett and Lopez will develop a nice high-low game. Blatache will provide good minutes and scoring off the bench. Reggie Evans will continue to do his Reggie Evans thing. And the Backcourt will improve as they log more minutes together.
But on the nights when nothing seems to be clicking, let us just hope Kidd can provide a little something more than he did against the Magic.
Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.