It's actually going to happen. This week, the Nets take the floor for the first time as the Brooklyn Nets.
There's been plenty of hype for this, and a whole lot of newness. New arena, new uniforms (I must say, I'm a fan of the understated look), new players. Most importantly, the Nets have added a new attribute to their persona, and it's something they haven't had since, well, ever: relevance.
Now I know that just making offseason moves doesn't suddenly make you a playoff-worthy team, especially after the utter blahness of the past few seasons. The Nets have clearly been trying to dispell that notion, though, starting with a major overhaul of the roster. After the blockbuster acquisition of Joe Johnson and the retaining of Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace, they made some interesting ancillary pickups, including two players who had been amnestied last year:
- Josh Childress, who I really only know as the guy with the best CGI afro in the NBA 2K video game franchise
- Andray Blatche, who really left a bad taste in my mouth after watching this glorious bout of selfishness, against the Nets no less
The most interesting of their other acquisitions is Mirza Teletovic, a 27-year-old Euroleague import with a killer shot. His preseason games have been pretty iffy–he's mostly just been shooting for the sake of shooting, with limited success. However, if they can hone his game to the NBA style, he might end up being the best-value addition to the Nets entire roster.
The Nets certainly have a lot to prove. For all the fanfare and Jay-Z overload of the past few months, their success is still determined by how they fare on the court. And what better way to start off that push than with a home opener against the Knicks...
Well, what better way would there have been than to start off the season against the Knicks? Literally minutes after writing this post, Mayor Mike gave the disappointing but most likely necessary news that the Nets-Knicks game would have to be postponed.
This is a big let-down for Nets and Knicks fans alike. There was a lot riding on this game, and while one game obviously doesn't make a season, it can definitely set the tone, or at least reinvigorate a crosstown rivalry.
Now I'm not saying that a win against the Knicks would have suddenly make the Nets THE New York team. The Knicks undoubtedly have a strong establishment and an ageless tradition (well, I'm sure they would prefer you not to think about their age, given that four members of their roster are 38 or older–that's twice the age of many of this year's rookie class).
However, what better energy booster for the Nets franchise and their burgeoning fanbase than to have beaten the team that's been bullying them across the Hudson since the Nets first joined the NBA?
If anything, this would have been an exciting game to watch, and a needed distraction to the pummeling that the tri-state area has gotten the past few days.
The Nets will instead start their season off on Saturday night with a home game against the Toronto Raptors. The silver lining is that this a team that Brooklyn has a strong chance of beating, which would certainly be a welcome way to start the season in the new arena. The last game the New Jersey Nets played was actually against the Raptors–the Nets lost, in a meaningless but still miserable-to-watch game. Hopefully the game can serve as a cathartic way of closing the door on the last few seasons.
Disappointed though I may be about the Knicks game being moved back, the Brooklyn Nets are still gearing up to start their first official season, and that's enough to get excited about.
I'm looking forward to pacing around frantically, screaming at the TV irrationally, and pulling my hair out–you know, being a Nets fan.