Brooklyn Nets must evolve to stay competitive

February 19, 2013

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For any and all New Jersey Nets fans, success has been a bit of a dream in recent years. The Nets haven’t had a winning record since the 2005-06 season, and their last playoff appearance was in the 2006-07 postseason. Over the span of over half a decade since then, they’ve been consistently awful, even finishing in dead last in 2009-10 with a 12-70 record.

But, things have been changing for the Nets, who now call Brooklyn’s Barclays Center home. They’re currently sitting nine games above .500, fighting for a top four seed in the Eastern Conference that would grant them home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Thus far the Nets have been extremely successful in the Barclays Center, posting an 18-10 record at home.

So, are the Nets contenders or pretenders? They’re well in the top half of the Eastern Conference. They have a solid starting lineup that boasts several former All-Star players, including star point guard Deron Williams, shooting guard Joe Johnson, scrappy forward Gerald Wallace and a current All-Star center, Brook Lopez. These players have worked well together this year, as they have two quality wins against the Boston Celtics, the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks, as well as one win against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

At this point, the Nets seem set for some playoff success, but general manager Billy King has been desperately trying to improve the team. The Nets have been linked in trade talks with the Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith, the Charlotte Bobcats’ Ben Gordon and possibly even Paul Millsap, the power forward for the Utah Jazz. Adding any one of these three players could potentially boost the Nets to true contender potential, as the names linked in the trade on Brooklyn’s side are bench players Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks.

If the Nets can pull off a blockbuster trade before the deadline to bring in another major star to their team, they have a legitimate shot to contend in the East. However, it is yet to be seen whom they will bring in or how he will fit with the new roster.

Excitemnet and anticipation surround the Nets’ newfound success but unless they make a big move, they will be stuck in the “good, not great” category in the East, unable to get over the hump.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 19 print edition. Evan Kendall is a contributing writer. Email him at sports@nyunews.com.

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