Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
No team in the NBA this past offseason had a more disappointing season than the New Jersey Nets. It didn’t matter what changes the Nets made during the regular season, they just couldn’t get anything going and ultimately ended their nightmare season with a pitiful 12 wins.
Not only was last season a forgettable to say the least, but the future of the franchise was very uncertain as the team was on the verge of being sold to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Even though the league was hesitant to approve the sale of the New Jersey Nets to this billionaire Russian playboy, the sale was ultimately approved and Prokhorov already started making bold promises.
Once it was all official that Mikhail Prokhorov would be the newest owner in the NBA, the Russian said that his goal is for the New Jersey Nets to win an NBA title within the next five years or so. That is an extremely bold statement after the team had arguably their worst season in franchise history and one of the worst regular season in league history.
Despite the odds being against the Russian billionaire and the New Jersey Nets moving forward, they do have a good foundation to work on as they have two promising young players in point guard Devin Harris and center Brook Lopez to build around. Not only do the Nets have a good young core of players, but they also have the third overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft and have just hired one of the best head coaches available in Avery Johnson.
During his time with the Dallas Mavericks, three and half years to be exact, Johnson made a huge impression on the league as he turned the Mavs into perennial title contenders in the Western Conference and in the process became one of the most successful NBA head coaches in league history in terms of winning percentage at .735.
That percentage is so good compared to the best of the best that he is above NBA greats like Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach and sits comfortably on the top with an extremely impressive 194-70 record during his head coaching career.
Despite having the best winning percentage of any head coach in NBA history, Avery Johnson has been unemployed for the last two years, but may have found his perfect opportunity with the New Jersey Nets.
Not only will the Nets pose a huge challenge and uphill battle for Johnson, but he will have the opportunity to rebuild an NBA franchise his way and create a winner.
Much like the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls, the New Jersey Nets will have a lot of money to spend this money and will almost certainly be looking to lure in some big-name free agents this offseason.
It remains to be seen whether or not they can bring in a big fish like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade in his extremely talented free agent market, but with Avery Johnson and the third overall pick, this team is definitely headed in the right direction!