They were labeled the best starting five in the NBA, a dark horse title contender in the Eastern Conference with a one-year window to win it all. It hasn’t quite clicked yet for the Brooklyn Nets, who following an embarrassing loss to the Sacramento Kings slipped down to a 2-5 record on the season.
At this point, many people are asking whether it is time to panic. Perhaps not, but it’s getting awfully close.
The Nets have been below average in just about every aspect of the game this season. They rank 20th in points allowed, 20th in points per game and 17th in rebounding. The starting five looks good on the paper, but is yet to look convincing on the floor.
The core of the team’s problem is obviously Deron Williams. He isn’t quite right and once again sprained his ankle against the Kings. Williams struggled last season as well, but put it together towards the end of the year and once again looked worthy to be mentioned among the best point guards in the league. But he is now back in that slump, and it looks very dark.
Whether it is father time catching up to him, or just him getting used to a new system, Kevin Garnett has had a terrible start to the 2013-14 campaign. The future Hall of Famer is averaging 6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, on 30.6% shooting.
Paul Pierce isn’t asked to do quite as much as he had to with Boston, but he has been relatively solid overall. Brook Lopez still can’t rebound the ball despite being taller than any other player on the floor 90% of the time, but has looked great offensively. Joe Johnson has been quite efficient, but hasn’t been convincing either.
The Nets are slow and old. That’s not going to change. A healthy Williams will do a lot of good for this team, but until he gets his touch back, this Brooklyn team will likely continue to struggle. It’s easy to overreact and say that the Nets are done, but the reality is that we are only seven games into the season. It took the Miami Heat quite a lot of time to get comfortable with each other and the same applies to this Nets team. Only difference is that the Nets have a tiny window to contend for a title, and it’s shrinking every single day.