City Sports Report

2014-15 Brooklyn Nets Need consistency for success

The health of Brook Lopez Key to Nets success (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

For two years in a row the Brooklyn Nets were a team of consistency, they consistently found ways to increase their payroll.

The team with the NBA’s most expensive roster is no longer the most-talked about team in the league. This season the payroll isn’t considerably lower, however the expectations are.

Consistency is a word used often in sports when trying to describe what it takes to win games. If there is any professional athlete who knows the importance of consistency it is former NBA star and current TNT Sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal.

I asked O’Neal recently at the NBA on TNT luncheon in New York City for his thoughts on Brooklyn this season. He quickly referred to the team’s two core players, center Brook Lopez and point guard Deron Williams:

“I said a couple years ago he’s (Brook Lopez) the best big man, if he’s healthy he plays like that. It also depends on Deron Williams … I’m all about consistency, that’s what you need. I would say this, if I was on that team, especially to Deron — I need you there every night; not three nights out of the week, every night. So if he can play consistent and Brook Lopez can stay healthy along with the other pieces they can probably make some noise.”

It was a summer of change for Brooklyn, most notably an unexpected change in leadership. Lionel Hollins has replaced Jason Kidd at head coach after Kidd’s abrupt departure for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching job, which may have shed light on any dysfunction that may have been lurking behind the scenes. This was a team assembled by billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King with the mentality of championship or bust.

However there was no championship for Brooklyn last year — instead there was a 10-21 start, an impressive push to reach the playoffs, and finally a quick second-round elimination by the Miami Heat that ended their season.

Last season Brooklyn was decimated by injuries, most notably to two of their core players. A broken foot last December cut short the season for Lopez. Before the injury, the Nets center was enjoying his best offensive year of his career. Williams was limited to only 64 games because of ankle injuries and he looked nothing like the All-Star that the Nets were expecting and are still waiting on getting.

If the Nets are to have success this season, they’ll need solid leadership and good health. Hollins is a well-respected coach who should give Brooklyn stability with his leadership and experience. While Paul Pierce has moved on to Washington, Kevin Garnett is still there. Garnett is back for his 20th NBA season and appears focused on erasing the taste last season left him with. Health will remain the key factor for the Nets, specifically with Lopez and Williams.

The Nets have a good mix of talent with Williams, Joe Johnson, Lopez, the youngster Mason Plumlee, Bojan Bogdanovic and Garnett. Plumlee and new addition Jarrett Jack could prove to be vital pieces to the plan, especially if Lopez and Williams are sidetracked by injuries again.

The east in the NBA is projected to be a two-team race between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls, however the remaining 6 spots in the conference are wide open. Just like Shaquille O’Neal said, if the health and consistency is there for Brooklyn, they can make some noise this year in the east.

Anthony Rushing is a contributing writer for City Sports Report, you can follow him on Twitter @AnthonyRushing_

The health of Brook Lopez Key to Nets success (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

The health of Brook Lopez Key to Nets success (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

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