By: Travis Thayer
2012-13 Record: 49-33
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 1st in the Atlantic
Projected Starting Lineup
The Brooklyn Nets are going all in after trading for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry. Pierce and Garnett are only under contract for this season, and the Nets already have a ton of money invested in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. The Nets have the most talented starting lineup in the NBA, but they might only have a one-year window to win it all. The winning pedigree of Pierce and Garnett is one of the main reasons the Nets went out and got them. Point guard Deron Williams should have one of his best seasons this year if he can stay healthy. I think of Rondo playing with Pierce and Garnett, and how great he was with those two. The difference between Rondo and Williams is that Williams can shoot the ball from anywhere. Williams’ ability to score and distribute should make him a more valuable player than Rondo was with Pierce and Garnett. Big man Brook Lopez is also going to improve because of the guys around him. Garnett should take a load of pressure off of Lopez’s shoulders, and allow him to play free and easy. Put all that together with a good bench, and you have a team that is going to compete deep into the playoffs.
The bench is made up of some really nice players. Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans are rebounding machines, and Andrei Kirilenko albeit older is still a good defender. Jason Terry and Mizra Teletovic are guys who can stretch the floor, and beat you from deep. First-year head coach Jason Kidd has plenty of options on his bench, and rookie Mason Plumlee might be one to watch out for in the future. He is a great athlete who can rebound and block shots, and he could play his way into the rotation. The Nets have everything you need to be a contending team, and they are a serious contender in the Eastern Conference. The east might not have the same amount of good teams as the west, but the top four in the east can compete with anyone. The Nets are one of those top four in the east, and they will be battling with Chicago and Indiana for the chance to knock off the champion Heat.