Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
Are you aware the shape I’m in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
As I sat down to write this week’s edition of My 2 Sense, a couple of topics came to mind immediately: the Super Bowl, three of the top four teams in college basketball lost Tuesday night, and Tiger Woods makes his first official start on the PGA Tour in 17 months Thursday. However, the Brooklyn refrain referenced above from The Avett Brothers song, I And Love And You, (which was playing on my iPod at the time), caused me to go in another direction. I figured if anyone’s hands are shaking and heads are spinning, it is Brooklyn Nets fans. Tuesday night they were routed by the San Antonio Spurs 112-86, despite the fact that SA played without Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol, and Manu Ginobli. Wow, I wonder if my eighth graders could give them a game this season?
When Brooklyn hired Sean Marks as their new general manager almost a year ago, he inherited a mess to say the least. The roster was devoid of any real impact NBA talent, and worse, the franchise was not in control of a first-round draft pick until 2019 (thank you Billy King)! Who can forget the colossal failure that was King’s trade with the Boston Celtics? Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were acquired for assorted flotsam and jetsam, AND King also threw in unprotected first-round draft choices in 2016 & 2018 (plus Boston’s right to swap first-rounders in 2017). This whopper is the gift that keeps on giving. It has crippled the franchise who, as of this writing is a pathetic 9-35 on the season. That means that at year’s end, instead of choosing UCLA’s Lonzo Ball with the #1 pick in the draft and having him electrify the Barclays Center crowd next season, he will likely be chosen by the Celts, where he will do so at the TD Garden in Boston.
Marks, who after finishing a 13 year NBA career, worked for the San Antonio Spurs in many capacities (director of basketball operations, assistant coach, and assistant general manager). His first order of business was to get players, and he knew that without having the ability to choose them high in subsequent drafts, he would have to get creative to fill out a roster. What that meant was throwing massive amounts of money at young players who had “upside”, and were thought to be “on the rise”. So, this summer the Nets signed two such players to offer sheets. Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard, Allen Crabbe, got a four year, $75 million offer, and Miami Heat point guard, Tyler Johnson, received a four year, $50 million offer. Despite the unbelievable amount of money offered to players who had not yet really done anything in the league, each offer sheet was matched by their previous team, and the Nets got neither. Marks moved on, trying to catch lightning in a bottle with players like former Cleveland Cavaliers overall #1 draft choice, Anthony Bennett. That experiment lasted 23 games. What can he do in-season to improve the team? Well, the NBA trade deadline is February 23rd, so keep an eye on Brook Lopez. Moving him is something Marks will and should think long and hard about. Supposedly, he is looking for two first-round draft choices for the 28-year-old center. That seems like a steep price, but maybe he can find a desperate GM and make a deal? Hey, is Billy King running anyone’s front office at the moment? Ha ha! As if things could not get any worse for Brooklyn, the one “big name” free agent they did sign this off-season, point guard Jeremy Lin (three-years, $36 million deal), re-aggravated his injured left hamstring in rehab recently, and will miss another 3 to 5 weeks! That he has appeared in only three more games (12) than the team has won this year, is Linsanity!
Photo: The Big Lead
While I do think Sean Marks is going to make his mark in Brooklyn, at the moment, the net net on the Nets is not good. And that is My 2 Sense for this week.