BoxScore Geeks' 2014 Brooklyn Nets Preview

The Numbers

  •  Average Seed
    8
  • 📉 Pessimist
    26.0 wins
  •  Realist
    34.6 wins
  • 📈 Optimist
    43.3 wins
 First Seed
 
1.0%
⋆ Division
 
6.4%
 Top 4
 
12.7%
👍 Over (42.0)
 
18.0%
ğŸ‘Ž Under (42.0)
ğŸŽ€ Playoffs

The Brief

Last year, I thought the Nets were an older veteran team that, while flawed, had a shot to contend for the NBA title if everything broke their way. Everything did not break their way. The franchise center and best offensive player, Brook Lopez, went down early in the season, and their older veteran players had some predictable trouble staying on the court. 

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov's $200 million dollar gamble did not payoff in a trip to the Finals. The Nets not only had arguably the largest professional sports payroll ever, but they also mortgaged the future to construct their aging roster. 

They had a shot last year. That window is closed.

The Story

The Nets put every single resource they had on the table last season to try to win the title. With a lot of teams taking the opposite approach, you have to admire that kind of commitment to winning. Nevertheless, short term thinking can have severe long term consequences and this roster as currently build is a perfect example of that.

Last Year

  •  Actual Wins: 44
  •  Expected Wins: 43.4
  • ⚅ Lucky Wins: -1.5
Player Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Joe Johnson 2,575 33 0.109 5.9
Paul Pierce  2,098 36 0.153 6.7
Deron Williams 2,059 30 0.132 5.7
Shaun Livingston  1,974 28 0.151 6.2
Alan Anderson 1,773 31 0.057 2.1
Andray Blatche 1,618 27 0.052 1.7
Mirza Teletovic 1,396 28 0.079 2.3
Mason Plumlee 1,275 24 0.233 6.2
Kevin Garnett 1,109 38 0.088 2.0
Andrei Kirilenko 857 33 0.138 2.5
Marcus Thornton  620 27 0.110 1.4
Jason Terry  570 36 -0.014 -0.2
Brook Lopez 533 26 0.157 1.7
Reggie Evans  399 34 0.129 1.1
Tyshawn Taylor  270 24 -0.206 -1.2
Jorge Gutierrez 244 25 0.006 0
Marquis Teague 201 21 -0.050 -0.2
Jason Collins 172 35 -0.095 -0.3
Tornike Shengelia  137 22 -0.078 -0.2

 Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.

  • 43.4 total Wins Produced
  •  7 players leaving
    (6068.0 minutes, 13.8 wins)

Their top three, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams, all met or exceeded our expectations for them last year. Mason Plumlee was a massive surprise as a rookie and a quality addition to their roster. This was all offset by the loss of Lopez, the injury-limited minutes of Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko, and the decline/disappearance (and eventual trade) of Reggie Evans.

Even with some great luck, the risk inherent in constructing a roster around a breakable franchise big (Lopez), a 36 year old Pierce, a 38 year old KG, a 33 year old Kirilenko who's never stayed healthy, and Deron's ankle was too much to be overcome. 

And rosters don't age like cheese or wine. It's not a good thing that this team is a year older.

This Year

  •  Projected Wins: 34.6
  •  Conference Rank: 9
  • % Playoffs: 48.9
Player Position Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Joe Johnson 2.0 2,426.0 34 0.093 4.7
Deron Williams 1.0 2,117.7 31 0.169 7.5
Kevin Garnett 4.0 2,109.2 39 0.080 3.5
Brook Lopez 5.0 1,927.1 27 0.185 7.4
Bojan Bogdanovic  3.0 1,779.5 25 0.016 0.6
Jarrett Jack  2.0 1,478.9 31 0.056 1.7
Andrei Kirilenko 3.0 1,363.7 34 0.076 2.2
Mirza Teletovic 4.0 1,255.7 29 0.063 1.6
Mason Plumlee 5.0 1,185.0 25 0.149 3.7
Marquis Teague 1.0 1,055.8 22 -0.046 -1.0
Alan Anderson 2.5 862.9 33 0.062 1.1
Jorge Gutierrez 1.0 705.8 26 0.011 0.2
Markel Brown  2.0 538.7 0 0.081 0.9
Cory Jefferson  4.0 474.1 0 0.017 0.2
Sergey Karasev  2.0 399.8 21 0 0

 

 Indicates that the player is new to the team.

  • 📅 27.1 WP last year
    by these players
  • 🔀 -9.7 WP (roster changes)
  • ⏲ -1.2 WP (age/experience)

Vegas has the over/under for this team at 42 wins and that is a very kind number. The projection has them at around 35 wins, and that is with KG, Deron and Brook all getting around 2000 minutes for the year. A few things play in their favor. The East -- particularly the Atlantic -- will be terrible. The Celtics might very possibly engage the Sixers in a tank off. Also, because they do not own their draft pick, the Nets will be trying all year.

But keep in mind that Pierce and Livingston took 12.9 wins with them, and they were not really replaced.

There is an actual decent lineup on the table for this team (Deron, Joe, Andrei, Plumlee, Lopez) but I don't know that we get anything close to 500 minutes of this. This feels like an eight seed by default and an easy out for the Cavs in round 1.

The Wrap

I can understand the reasons why the Nets went all-in last season. A title or finals appearance was possibly on the table. It was also a move about legitimacy for the franchise. The result from a basketball perspective is not promising at all in the short or long term. It'll take some Spurs-level management to steer them out of this corner.

However, given that the current owner bought the team for 223 million in 2010, and he might be able to get that tenfold right now? I don't think they have many regrets.

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