They have a new name, a new logo and a new stadium and the hope is that Brooklyn won't be the same old Nets in 2012-13. Last year New Jersey struggled to a 22-44 record, including dropping its last six games of the season but key signings this off-season should at least get the Nets competing for a playoff spot next year.
With point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez locked into long term-deals and with theadditionof swingman Joe Johnson via trade with Atlants, the Nets have a solid corp to build around.
Williams was probably the most sought after free-agent but he decided to stick with Nets, inking a 5-year 98 million dollar deal.Williams is clearly one of the elite point guards in the NBA.
The three-time all star averaged 21 points and 9 assists last season for New Jersey and is currently playing for the United States at at the London Olympics.
Lopez quietly put up big scoring numbers, averaging 19 points a game last season but only 3.6 rebounds a game which isn't much for a 7-footer. The Nets believe Lopez can be a fixture in the middle for many seasons to come as they inked the four year veteran to asizable 4-year 61 million dollar deal.
Smooth scoring Joe Johnson came over in a trade earlier this summer from the Hawks in return for a slew of players including Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson and a future first round pick. Johnson averaged 18 points a game for Atlanta lastseasonbut failed to lift the Hawks past the first round of the playoffs. However, playing with a top flight point guard in Williams surely will help Johnson get more open looks next season.
Perhaps the steal of the draft in 2011, guard Marshon Brooks returns for his second campaign and is expected to be a major contributor. Taken 25thoverallby Boston and then shipped to the Nets, Brooks averaged 12 points and 3 assists in 47 starts in his rookie season. With Gerald Wallace returning at small forward, Brooks would likely be the first player off the bench next season to provide instant offense.
The Netsalsobring back rebounding machine Kris Humphries on a 2-year 24 million deal. Humphries averaged 11 rebounds to go along with 14 points last season.
To backup Williams, Brooklyn also inkedveteranguard C.J. Watson.In 25 starts last seasonWatson averaged 11.3 points and 5 assists for the Bulls.
In the NBA draft, the Nets got Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor in a trade from Portland and Brooklyn also selected small forward Ilkan Karaman out of Turkey.
The newness of the Brooklyn Nets could wear off quickly if they don't start getting some wins quickly but on paper they should be a pretty decent team next season and it would be surprising if they are not a playoff team.