The disappointing start to the season continues for the Nets.
Following their off-season dealings, the message from the Brooklyn Nets front office was clear not only for the franchise but also for their rivals this summer, they were constructing a roster that was built to win a championship.
Having acquired NBA greats in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to add to a line-up that already possessed All-Stars Brook Lopez and Deron Williams, the more immediate future looked promising for Brooklyn. However, the reality has been a stark contrast to what they had hoped to achieve thus far.
Granted, it is still early in the season and these chemistry issues were to be expected but having slipped to a 3-7 start to the season and losing five of their last six games, the alarm bells are beginning to ring for rookie coach Jason Kidd and his troops.
The future Hall of Fame point guard was keen to accept responsibility for the latest loss which came against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, but how much of the blame he deserves is debatable as it is clear he was merely trying to deflect the criticism away from his players.
Kidd is arguably not the problem, as a glance at the statistics and shooting percentages will show that the influential players in the team aren’t performing at the level expected of them at this point.
Injuries have also hampered potential progress, with Lopez and Williams sidelined with ankle problems and Garnett and Pierce will have to be managed well across the year in order to keep them fresh for the post-season.
Nevertheless, without a fully-fit Williams holding this team together from the point guard position, and Lopez providing his dominant displays inside, the indecisiveness and lack of cohesion will continue to restrict them.
The Nets boast big personalities in the locker room, and much was reportedly said in a players-only meeting earlier this week. However, personalities can only get them so far.
If they do have aspirations of winning a championship this year, then they will have to execute, both defensively and offensively, on the court, and find a way to do so immediately with five of their next seven games being on the road.
The warning signs are there and the pressure is building, but it is still perhaps too early to make assessments of either the coach or the project as they will ultimately still be in the play-off picture come the end of the regular season.
Where the bigger issue lies though is that they must “find their identity” as Garnett put it on Monday, as they will need to vastly improve in order to topple the likes of the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers over the course a play-off series.
However, things must change sooner rather than later otherwise billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and members of the new-look team may begin to lose both confidence and patience.