My apology to the New Jersey Nets

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I spent some time this season criticizing the performance of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. I was told I owed them an apology, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true.

The Nets were terrible this year. They broke the all time loss record to start a season at 0-18, and were on pace to break the Philadelphia 76ers all-time worst season record of 9-73. They avoided that particular distinction by winning 12 and losing only 70. This is bad, but really is it any different from the Sixers miserable record of 27-55 this year? I don’t think so, both teams lost a lot and their seasons ended right along with everyone else that didn’t make the playoffs.

Considering the way the NBA Draft Lottery works, there was some cynical speculation that the Nets may have aimed for the worst record in the league (but not the worst of all time) in order to pick first. I don’t believe this is the case. I don’t want to think any team would ever really try for this by tanking the entire season. Regardless, that’s not what happened as The Nets will pick 3rd in the Draft. Ironically, the Sixers will choose 2nd just behind the Washington Wizards on June 24th.


Nets on pace for record/disgrace

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nbatv_logoIt wasn’t difficult, but you could see this coming a few weeks ago. The New Jersey Nets are about to break the NBA record for consecutive losses to start a season at 18 (this should happen after tonight’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks, but you never know). Since the last post on the matter, I did some research and it’s crazy how bad a team can get so fast in the NBA.

The Nets were in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003 losing to the Kobe/Shaq era Lakers.  While that feels like a lifetime ago, the Nets also won Atlantic Division in 2004 and 2006 and went to the playoffs in 2005.  Granted they didn’t win the Eastern Conference Championship those seasons, but until Boston got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen they were a top conference playoff team.

Lots of personnel changes will also drastically change a team’s fortunes as Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter are all gone from the roster.  Looking at who’s still in town, there’s no indication that things are going to change anytime soon. The Nets might be a part of the LeBron Lottery after this season, but why would he want to come to the team at this point?  Move to Brooklyn or not, this team could be in long term trouble. Like Knicks-level trouble.

In the interest of fairness, it’s also worth looking at some other NBA teams that have already distinguished themselves so far this season:

Minnesota Timberwolves, 2-15.  If not for an opening night win against The Nets, this team could have been the Nets.

New York Knicks, 4-14.  No matter how hard this team tries, they just can’t seem to get it together.  One of those wins is against the Nets and one is against the 14-4 Phoenix Suns.

Philadelphia 76ers, 5-13.  The best part of this season is that it’s highly unlikely that the Sixers will be the team the Nets finally beat.  They’d have to go 0-41 through January 31st for that to happen.  They can’t be that bad…


Is something special happening in New Jersey?

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Now that baseball season has passed for another year, my attention has been drawn back to the NBA.  While my beloved Sixers will be in another battle for 4th place in the Eastern Conference, I couldn’t help but notice a remarkable statistic in their division: New Jersey Nets 0-12 to start the season.

The Nets are on pace to pass both their franchise losing streak of 16 games and the record for most losses to start an NBA season at 17 games (shared by the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers).  We may be seeing something special happening in New Jersey.

Keeping pace with the Nets in the Atlantic Division are the lowly New York Knicks (who were rumored to be interested in the recently available Allen Iverson).  Combined 2 and 21 for the season, these teams just really couldn’t be worse.  They meet for the first time this season Saturday at 1PM where the Nets may take one more step toward infamy.