The 9-19 Brooklyn Nets are a bickering, broken mess of a basketball team
The Brooklyn Nets lost badly to the undermanned Chicago Bulls at home on Wednesday, dropping a very winnable game by a 95-78 score. The Nets looked listless in defeat, something that has been commonplace since their mess of a season started, working through the motions defensively and failing to secure good shots on the other end. Chicago’s guard penetration did the Nets in time and time again, something that runs in sharp contrast to how the team expected to run after trading for defensive legend Kevin Garnett over the offseason.
The Nets now stand at 9-19. They’re three games out of the lead in the Atlantic Division, and winning that division leads to a guaranteed playoff berth, but beating out a tanking Toronto Raptors team for an undeserved playoff spot is not what Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King had in mind when they put together a player and coaching staff payroll that nears $200 million with luxury taxes included.
With rookie coach Jason Kidd still struggling to find his calling on the sideline and 20-point per game center Brook Lopez already out for the season, things are looking rather dire for the much-hyped Nets. This is part of the reason why Kidd went off on his team following the pathetic loss to Chicago. From ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
The frustration is mounting. According to league sources, after Kidd yelled at the team on Wednesday, Kevin Garnett stood up and vented his frustration before walking out to the showers. Multiple sources stressed Garnett backs Kidd and that the veteran's frustration has been building over some of his teammates' lack of fight after the Nets lost by 17 points for the second straight game.
Kidd clarified his frustrations following the team meeting while talking with reporters:
"At the end of the day, the coach can only hold you responsible for energy and effort," Kidd said. "If you're not giving it, I have to take you out. If you're missing shots, that's just part of the game. But if you're not giving energy or effort, I've got to take you out."
The problem here is that no Net appears to be giving much of a dogged effort on either end. Reserve forward Reggie Evans looked good in gathering 13 rebounds in only 20 minutes in the loss on Wednesday, but he was about it in terms of spark for Kidd’s team. Deron Williams, the team’s longest-tenured player and de facto go-to guy, went on to express his sorrow over a season gone wrong:
"I'm even surprised with this season, how it's played out. It's like a nightmare," Williams said after the Nets were blown out on Christmas 95-78 by the Chicago Bulls Wednesday afternoon at Barclays Center.
"The way the injuries have been and the things we talk about every day: the lack of energy, the lack of effort. I didn't see that being a problem when we put this team together."
When Billy King put this team together it was understood that this was going to be a “win now” setup. Over the last several offseasons and trade deadlines King has sent draft pick after draft pick away to teams in Portland, Utah, Atlanta and Boston, and the Nets will either be without a draft pick or receiving the lower of two draft picks (from Atlanta and then Boston) from now until their consideration-free participation in the 2019 draft. That’s five and a half years from now … and sadly for Prokhorov, that’s always been the way Billy King works. If you write him a big enough check, at least.