Feb 22, 2011, 2:09 PM EST
It’s just not that easy.
All the swagger of a Russian billionaire playboy and a hip-hop icon and mogul can not instantly transform an NBA franchise. It cannot get free agents to walk through the door, let alone knock it down.
The Nets Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z made a good pitch to LeBron James, but we all know about his talents and South Beach. Then they made a pitch to Carmelo Anthony — how good a pitch is up for debate, there are rumors it wasn’t impressive — and he ended up with the other team in the same market.
So, the Nets are back to square one. Now what?
Be patient. Relax. Have a vodka shot and hear me out.
The Nets may have been going about this backwards, looking to trade all their picks for one established superstar. The quick fix. However, what was said when Prokhorov was leading with his chin during the LeBron sweepstakes remains true now — there are some nice pieces to build around.
Brook Lopez may have taken a step back offensively this season, and he may be deathly allergic to rebounding (can you think of a worse rebounding 7-foot traditional center?), but the guy is still a 20-point a game scorer with offensive skills. He still can clog the lane on defense. There are not a lot of guys like him around the league and while he may not develop into a superstar he remains a quality big man you can use to anchor the middle.
Derrick Favors needs time to develop — don’t expect him to come out of the gate like Blake Griffin — but he has the potential to be very good. It’s going to take a few years and good coaching. Anthony Morrow could be the kind of scoring two guard most teams crave. Kris Humphries is solid inside. On and on.
Use the picks you almost sent away to add to that — Billy King has done well in the draft before. Give him a chance again. That is how the Nets rose to the top of the East a decade ago — drafted a good team around Jason Kidd, who they got for a steal on the free agent market.
In a couple years you’ll be in a brand new building in New York, that young core will be coming along and one of these free agents may look at this franchise and say, “I need to be there.” And when he does there will be a real core of players to round out the roster.
But for now be patient (despite the losses). Build slowly, steadily. Stop looking for the quick fix.
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