While the Brooklyn scene may appear far more different this year than those before it, this situation stands as now stranger to the Nets however. Months before Brooklyn fans saw D’Angelo Russell break out as a bonafide star while Jared Dudley tortured Ben Simmons during an unsuccessful, yet promising playoff series, they watched Caris LeVert suffer an unwatchable leg injury and the team plummet to an 8-18 record.
With so many rough years behind them, all signs pointed to the Nets yielding away yet another season. Most importantly, last year Brooklyn owned the rights to their first round pick for the first time since 2013, which of course only made the tanking method appear more attractive.
As we all know though, the Nets turned things around instead, ripping off 7 straight wins while establishing a gritty tone for the rest of the season that would eventually help catapult them into the playoffs for the fist time since 2014.
The big victory berthed from Brooklyn’s mid-season renaissance last year came not on the hardwood however, but during offseason contract negotiations, as the team landed Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan, all of whom admittedly felt drawn to Brooklyn by their focus on winning during the 2018-2019 season.
With perhaps the biggest moment for the franchise coming due the team’s willingness to push on and attempt to win games, the idea that the Nets should once more neglect the tanking strategy and remain competitive certainly holds weight. Without their winning mentality, Brooklyn may have never landed Durant and Irving in the first place. Although another high caliber player will most likely not be available for the Nets this offseason, to not learn from last year’s success and instead throw in the towel might close the door on any other future lucrative opportunities.
Equally important, the Nets own the Philadelphia 76ers first round pick during this year’s upcoming draft and not their own, as they traded it away this summer to bring over Taurean Prince and dump Allen Crabbe along with his hefty contract. This factor disregards any calls for the Nets to lose purposefully in order to obtain a better draft pick, as the team’s win total this year simply has no implications on the team’s draft situation.