The Brooklyn Nets Need to Play with More of an Edge

NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Kenyon Martin
NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Kenyon Martin /

The NBA is a different league than it was 15 years ago. The game was more physical and the players openly did not like each other on and off the court. That has all changed.

Most fans of the Brooklyn Nets remember a time back in the early 2000’s where the then-New Jersey Nets, were one of the most dominant teams in the NBA. They were a perennial powerhouse in the Eastern Conference and won multiple division and conference titles.

These Nets’ team rosters were filled with star talent. With Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Kerry Kittles, there was no shortage of skill. While these players were great, one of the things that made them complete was the edge they played with, which was provided by Kenyon Martin.

MUST READ: Nets Suffering Amid D’Angelo Russell’s Growing Pains

Kenyon “K-Mart” Martin was considered a “Bad Boy” of the NBA back in the day. He had a brash, in your face style, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with opponents. His demonstrative nature got under the skin of opposing competitors and Martin made no apologies for it.

In an interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of RESPECT Magazine on “Scoop B Radio”, a now retired Martin continues to show that edge that made him a great player. Fans of the Nets may remember his long feud with former New York Knicks forward Tim Thomas and when asked about it, Martin wasn’t mincing his words.

"“I would have whooped his [expletive] is what I would have done and it would have been [expletive] over is what I’m saying. It’s all it is and it wouldn’t have to go on as long.”"

That short snippet is an example of the passion that Martin played with in what was an interesting and fiery interview. But that’s the player that Martin was, he played with grit and an edge. This is what the current Nets roster is missing.

MUST READ: Nets Lacking Energy Without Trevor Booker

No one is saying that the Nets players need to go around picking fights, but showing some more passion, edge and toughness would go a long way this year. The team motto last season was #BrooklynGrit and this year is #WeGoHard and the team needs to start living up to these mottos.

So, who would fit that bill to essentially become the next Brooklyn Nets “Bad Boy”? The most obvious candidate is forward Trevor Booker. He plays with passion and isn’t afraid to make some noise after a highlight dunk or block. But there a few factors that disqualify him.

One, is that he is mostly playful in his nature and when he is boasting it is to his own team and not the opponent. Two, he is in the final year of his contract and may not be around after the trade deadline comes and goes. So, he is out.

MUST READ: Nets Need To Find A Way to Stop Bigs

Looking at some of the younger players, a lesser known commodity is rookie center Jarrett Allen. Allen has played some in his rookie season and has shown  athleticism and defensive prowess. He plays a similar game to Martin, but his personality is still unknown. If he can add swagger to his athleticism then there could be the makings of the next “Bad Boy.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is another player who can develop into the physical tone setter of the Nets. Hollis-Jefferson does not shy away from bigger players and his defense allows him to be a thorn in opponents’ sides. He plays with attitude at times, but it needs to come out more if he is to take the mantle Martin once held.

The final player stepping up to be the possible “Bad Boy” is Caris LeVert. I know, some of you are out there looking at the screen like “Wait, what?”, but just keep reading. The normally quiet and smooth player has played with the edge that the team needs at times. He’s talked some trash to opponents after big plays at times, and he needs to do it more often.

Next: Tyler Zeller may be a pleasant surprise for the Brooklyn Nets

Whether any of these players possess the edge to become the next Nets’ “Bad Boy” is yet to be seen. If the team can find that player that embodies the player Martin once was then they will be successful.