- Teams: Brooklyn Nets (38-28) at Detroit Pistons (23-45)
- Date: March 18, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
With every frontcourt player for the New York Knicks seemingly injured, the Brooklyn Nets have emerged as the best professional basketball club in New York. Granted, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Ama’re Stoudemire will be back at some point in time.
Then we will be having another discussion.
At this very moment though, Brooklyn is creeping up on the Knickerbockers in the standings and it was about time.
All it took was a four-game losing streak by New York on their current Western Conference road trip to narrow the gap between both clubs. Mike Woodson’s team was defeated for the fourth straight time by double digits this past Sunday while P.J. Carlesimo’s unit has won three-of-five entering tonight.
The Nets have a shot at the third best record in the conference. And yet, somehow they leave many underwhelmed.
Joe Johnson returned to the lineup last night against the Atlanta Hawks after missing last Tuesday’s game due to a sore heel. J.J. was once a dynamic shooting guard capable of defending a multitude of positions all the while serving as both a scorer and playmaker on offense.
The talent is still there but Johnson has struggled some this season. He is nonetheless one of the most feared players in the league in late game situations, a reputation Pistons fans are all too familiar with because of his heroics against Detroit earlier in the season.
Deron Williams was once upon a time not only in the discussion with Chris Paul for the title of best point guard alive; but was in the lead for a brief moment. At this juncture, with the terrific play of Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving, Rajon Rondo and Stephen Curry so far this season, Williams might not even make the top six.
And then there’s Brook Lopez.
The modern game has changed so much that big men are now expected to stretch the floor for teams to be efficient on offense. Lopez fits that mold but still manages to bully defenders on the low block for scores.
He leads the Nets in scoring and converts 52 percent of his shots. Although he will not be mistaken for a throwback center, he should still be a dominant center by today’s standards.
Teams with great backcourts and stud centers typically contend for titles.
Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Shaq, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and so on goes the list. The Nets players obviously aren’t on those levels, but they certainly have the talent to perform as All-NBA caliber players.
We just haven’t seen it from them collectively.
They are a borderline great offensive team, while their defense is mostly average.
In addition, it’s difficult to put the finger on just what it is that this team does truly well. Figuring out what they hang their hat on is a bit perplexing.
The Brooklyn Nets certainly seem to have the potential to be great, but they have been anything but in the 2012-13 campaign. They most probably are a second tier team that will have nights where they look as though they can compete with the big boys but cannot in actuality.
But then again, things change quickly with injuries and the Knicks are living proof.
Maybe the Nets shock us.
Or maybe they remain as is: a potential contender.