After what Carmelo Anthony termed a “special” offseason, the Brooklyn Nets can expect the the same kind of welcome normally reserved for the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.
Under the circumstances, that’s just fine with them.
The Nets surged from lovable losers to arguable favorites in a New York minute. While free agents rarely opted to venture to the swamp, Brooklyn has everyone interested.
Consider this uncharted territory for the Nets.
“It’s special what [the Nets] did,” Anthony told ESPN. “J-Kidd will have four or five future Hall of Famers… We’ll see whether we have enough. We haven’t even stepped on the court yet.”
The Nets will rely on several aging superstars, a familiar face as assistant coach, and trainer Tim Walsh.
With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the fold, the Nets will trot out a starting five with five legitimate All-Stars.
“It’s okay to be older and wiser,” Coach Kidd said. “Kevin is only 37-years old, but players 38 and 39 have gone on to win championships.”
Fans need look no further than Tim Duncan with the San Antonio Spurs. Duncan and teammate Tony Parker led the Spurs to a Western Conference championship before ultimately falling to the Heat in the Finals.
In the 2013 playoffs, Duncan played 35 minutes a night and averaged 18.1 ppg. Duncan also carried the Spurs, despite their Game Seven loss. With Manu Ginobili struggling, Duncan assumed a primary scoring role.
The Nets will not ask Garnett to assume a large offensive responsibility, although he is certainly still capable.
He, Pierce, and the rest of the Nets’ stars just need to stay healthy.
And 29 teams’ fanbases will root against that scenario.
When the Nets called New Jersey home, the only event that passed for audience hatred was Kris Humphries’ short-lived marriage to Kim Kardashian. The Nets have certainly evolved past reality TV sideshow.
Even the bench has drawn some of free agency’s better role players. The Nets most recently locked up swingman Alan Anderson, formerly of the division rival Toronto Raptors. Anderson emerged as one of the NBA’s more underrated options in the late stages of free agency.
Anderson, known as a strong defender, can also deliver a scoring a touch. He averaged 10.7 ppg in Toronto and maxed out with 35 points in 36 minutes against the New York Knicks last season.
He’ll accompany Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry, Shaun Livingston, and Andray Blatche coming off the bench. Usually that kind of interest in coming off the bench is reserved for the league’s elite.