I’m sorry Nets fans. I know you want to be relevant. You moved to Brooklyn. You have a crazy rich Russian owner that will do whatever it takes to win. You have the most awesome arena that I have ever been to in sports, and the pedigree of cool that comes with Brooklyn means that your team was even 4th when it comes to team merchandise sales. But your Jason Kidd hire as coach means nothing.
Yes Jason Kidd led you to two NBA Finals and yes he is one of the smarter players to have ever played the game, but the facts are that in general who is your head coach really does not make any difference when it comes to the NBA.
What does matter is your GM, and that’s where the Nets have a problem. His “superstar” that he brought is Deron “Premadona” Williams who he traded for without first securing a contract extension! Deron was one Shark Tank appearance away from leaving for Dallas, and even then the 5 year 98 million dollar contract with the new CBA to take form soon is shaky at best. Is Deron someone to bring you a title? Maybe with the right players, but he has hardly done enough around him to even create an Eastern Conference Finals contender let alone a championship one. Even if they were getting Deron’s prime Utah years, (which they aren’t,) those Jazz had Carlos Boozer averaging 20 and 10, Andrei Kirilenko back when he was one of the top defense forces in the league, Mehmet Okur, and enough cap space to afford quality role players around them such as Derek Fisher, Matt Harpring, and a young Paul Millsap.
Deron holding the team hostage led to King trading a possible Lillard pick in the draft for 4 years and 40 million dollars worth on Gerald Wallace, who hadn’t been good for two years, and 4 years and 89 million dollars worth to Joe Johnson, a guy that couldn’t lead a deep Hawks team past even the 2nd round. Did I mention he’s going to be 35 years old and making 25 million dollars when the new salary cap is just over 58 million?
The East is not getting any worse either. This past year was their best chance to make a run, and they couldn’t beat a Bulls team without Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, and an injured Noah that absolutely took it to the one good contract you have in Brook Lopez. You think a new Coach will lead you to beat this team next year? What about the Pacers that get Danny Granger back and a team that almost made it to the Finals? Are those young guys going to get worse? And you still have the Heat and Knicks, and up and coming teams like the Wizards and Raptors that could present problems as well.
This isn’t a recent problem with King either. As mentioned in the Bill Simmons First ever atrocious GM summit, when King was the GM for the 76ers, following a run to the ’01 Finals, he signed old man Mutombo to a $68 million dollar extension, $60 million to Samuel Dalembert, $18 million to Greg Buckner, $29 million to Eric Snow, $35.5 million to Aaron Mckie, $25 million to Brian Skinner, and $40 million to Kenny Thomas. If you’re looking at a couple of those names going who? and huh? you’re not alone. That’s not all either. In addition to the $300 million dollars of bad contracts they also traded for a one-legged C-Webb, and managed to get past their prime guys like Keith Van Horn, Glenn Robinson, and Kevin Ollie.
Jason Kidd might very well be a great coach, and surely there is nothing wrong with the attempt to hire a guy that hasn’t had any coaching experience. Certainly guys like Doc Rivers and Mark Jackson have done alright, and data shows that it’s better to try a new guy than someone that has already been an NBA coach. But when you have a roster containing Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace playing together there are going to be times when you struggle on Offense, and while not terrible it will be tough to have an amazing defense with guys like Lopez, Williams, and Joe Johnson. Using some matchup style zones like Kidd played with in Dallas could help, but I just don’t see it being enough. You’re destined for mediocrity Nets fans, so you better get used to it.