The NBA preseason is good for two things: for allowing players to knock off the rust and for fans to prematurely declare their teams either championship or lottery bound. With the Brooklyn Nets experiencing a sluggish start to this tune-up session their fans have chosen the latter route.
Brooklyn opened up their preseason against a familiar foe from down the turnpike. Even with James Harden and Joel Embiid sitting out, the Philadelphia 76ers blitzed Brooklyn. A hot start from Tyrese Maxey catapulted the team out to an early lead. Brooklyn fought back and seized the lead in the second half’s early stages, but fell by a 127-108 score.
Things grew uglier two nights later against the Miami Heat. Even with Kyrie Irving sitting out, most expected the Nets to contend with the boys from South Beach. They did not though, losing by a 109-80 final score.
Nets fans likely have PTSD from all the drama and consequential losing from last season. While that’s well warranted, some outtakes from fans after the Miami game were a bit hysterical nonetheless.
When looking at Brooklyn’s halftime score update on Twitter, the replies were an absolute bloodbath. The first one from user @KadinMangual questioned Steve Nash’s coaching. While that’s something we’ve all done at one point or another, the bluntness of his tweet was quite amusing.
He wasn’t alone though. Proclaimed Nets fan @eLeonPB also questioned whether or not Nash has the chops to coach for yet another year.
Another user immediately called into question Ben Simmons’s shooting ability. Although any frustration after the Miami game was understandable, the second game of the preseason is far too early to give up on Ben10.
The Nets do deserve applause for their efforts in either of these first two games by any means. Some concern? Sure, that’s fair. But let’s not treat this like last year’s 11-game losing streak. Take a page out of NetsKingdom’s book, who looked at Brooklyn’s loss Thursday night with a more grounded approach.
These games do not matter. They’d never admit it, but Nets players likely have that fact in the backs of their minds before every contest. It’s only natural, just like how players take things up a notch in the playoffs. Competitiveness has levels to it — and the preseason dwells at the bottom.
At this point, let’s appreciate Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant all taking the floor together. For Brooklyn, seeing all your star players in uniform at once has become quite the ask over the past few years. For now, enjoy this warmup, and keep in mind that that’s all this is — a warmup.