NYDN: Prokhorov No. 17 most powerful person in NY sports

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is the No. 17-most powerful person in New York sports, according a list released by the New York Daily News.

Prokhorov ranked just ahead of Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and just behind Jeff and Fred Wilpon (disclosure: the Wilpons have a controlling stake in SNY).

“The most mysterious owner in sports may be among the most powerful because of one thing: money. There are billionaires among the 30 NBA owners, and there is Mikhail Prokhorov, who puts everyone else to shame in that category [...] Some say you can buy championships — just ask the Yankees — and Prokhorov is doing his best to bring the same to Brooklyn.”

Despite selling his stake in the Nets to start a player agency, Jay Z ranks 23rd on the list. Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark ranked 38th.

To see the full list, click here.

Brian Erni

The Nets have made huge strides in the New York media landscape. Incredible, actually. When you consider they were practically irrelevant for the majority of their three-and-a-half decades in New Jersey, it’s amazing how much swagger the Brooklyn brand carries with consumers and the media alike. That’s a tribute to the investment Prokhorov has made in the team, as well as the job of Yormark and his staff in re-branding the organization. But if you thought the Nets’ power had eclipsed the Knicks, you’re quickly smacked in the face with reality. James Dolan is on top of this list, followed closely by Phil Jackson at six, and Carmelo Anthony at 15. That’s right: a Knicks player is deemed more powerful than the Nets owner. It sums up how the town still views the Nets as second fiddle, and they have a ton of work to do before they supplant MSG’s influence. 

Nets finalize 2014-15 coaching staff

The Nets have finalized Lionel Hollins’ coaching staff for the 2014-15 season, the team announced on Wednesday.

Hollins will carry six assistants: Paul Westphal, John Welch, Tony Brown, Joe Wolf, Jay Humphries, and Jim Sann. Sann, who has been with the club since 2012, will also serve as an advance scout.

Welch and Sann are holdovers from last season, while Westphal, Wolf, Brown, and Humphries were officially announced as new hires. Westphal is the only assistant with NBA head coaching experience (he compiled a 318-279 record with the Suns, Sonics, and Kings).

Brian Erni

Looks like a solid staff to me. Of course, the biggest issue is always how the coaches gel, and last year, Nets fans saw first hand what happens when they don’t. As long as everyone is pulling in the same direction, coaching staffs aren’t nearly as important as they’re made out to be. Hollins is an experienced NBA mind with a clear cut vision and system. He won’t need to rely on coordinators as much as rookie coaches looking to get their footing. With only Westphal having served as a head coach (and he recently was an assistant for Avery Johnson is Dallas), the egos should be at a minimum, and Hollins’ voice should be the loudest and most decisive, which is just the way it should be.
plumlee slam

Mason Plumlee gets called up to practice with Team USA

Mason Plumlee has been called up from the Select Team and is now practicing with Team USA.

Jerry Colangelo, director of USA Basketball, said Tuesday that the move had more to do with evening out practice, but he could consider adding Plumlee to the actual roster.

“Mason Plumlee we have added today. We made a decision yesterday [that] we want to balance the two teams we need 20 to scrimmage, two bigs on each team [...] It’s not just because he had a good day yesterday, he’s got good size, he’s active, we’ll take a step at a time [...] I want extra bigs in my pocket. There’s going to be team’s where we need them.”

Plumlee played in 70 games in his rookie season and averaged 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 18.2 minutes per contest.

Brian Erni

Obviously, Mike Krzyzewski is familiar with Plumlee’s game, and he loves his athleticism. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Plumlee defy odds that seemed pretty long coming in to camp and getting the nod to play with Team USA. If that happens, I think it will be a great opportunity for the second year man. Plumlee’s had the advantage of being around some legendary basketball minds in his career: first Coach K at Duke, then Kevin Garnett in his first year in Brooklyn. To his credit, he seems to have soaked up the teaching he has gotten like a sponge. I think the more he can be around top tier talent, the better he will become, so let’s hold out hope that there will be a spot for Plums when the dust settles.

Talent evaluator: Karasev would have been a top pick in 2014

Just how well did the Nets do in their acquisition of Sergey Karasev from Cleveland? It’s comparable to if they had a top seven pick in this year’s draft, according to one talent evaluator.

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, an analyst who specializes in evaluating foreign-born players, said Karasev has such a high ceiling that he would have gone within the first seven selections of this year’s NBA Draft. Karasev was taken No. 19 overall by Cleveland in 2013.

“As crazy as it sounds,” Fraschilla said “[Karasev] would have been a top-five, top-six, top-seven pick this year. He’s very talented. I don’t know if the situation in Cleveland was dysfunctional or not, but I also would tell you that at 19, he was not ready for the NBA last year.” (h/t The Brooklyn Game)

Brian Erni

Keep this in mind: This year’s NBA Draft was considered to be extraordinarily deep. Meaning the fact that Fraschilla would mention Karasev as a top seven (or higher) pick is big-time praise. Consider the current scuttlebutt around Andrew Wiggins and whether the Cavs would be better simply holding onto him or trading for bonafide superstar Kevin Love. In Franschilla’s opinion, there are only a few picks difference between Karasev and a player that could be a star from Day One in the league.

Karasev is still incredibly young, and he’ll have a lot to prove, this is just another microcosm of how the Nets have slowly evolved from a team built for right now to a team that could sustain success with a younger core for years to come. I know I’m bullish on the Nets’ new foreign imports, but I really think Billy King did one heck of a job acquiring Karasev, and it seems like I’m not the only one. 

The Truth? Bojan is ready

Brian Erni

After three long years, and a mild flirtation with making the jump last offseason, Bojan Bogdanovic has finally arrived in Brooklyn. Upon that arrival, he finds that there are some mighty big shoes to fill. But, in my opinion, the Bosnian swingman is going to be a hit, one that is well worth his $10.1 million contract.

Any time you’re asking to absorb the hit of the departure of a future Hall of Famer, you’re starting from behind the 8 ball. But when Paul Pierce left the borough for the Distric, the Nets didn’t stress because they thought Bogdanovic wouldn’t be a step down. In fact, maybe even a step up, thanks to legs that are 11 years younger. Bogdanovic isn’t burdened by such nuance. All he knows is that he’s ready for his shot in the Association, and set to make an immediate impact.bojan intro

“First of all, I’m a shooter,” Bogdanovic told reporters regarding his game his news conference on Monday. “Last year, I improved a lot with my game with the ball, pick-and-roll. I think I’m good enough for one-on-one. I think I am ready.”

In my opinion, Bogdanovic certainly is more than ready. With the obviously caveat that no international import is a sure thing, Bogdanovic has all the tools to succeed, especially in a system that includes a more than adequate distributor in Deron Williams and a seriously middle of the court threat in Brook Lopez. His ability as a swingman — one that allowed him to averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 24 Euroleague games last season — should supply him with plenty of room to operate, primarily thanks to a solid, agile frame and a high basketball IQ.

Look at the way he finds open space in this video, a preseason exhibition against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Those are NBA-level instincts, and they are only going to improve. With Bojan’s ability to knock down the outside look, as well as put the ball on the floor and penetrate when need be, he’ll be the perfect way to transition from Pierce.

Don’t get me wrong. Paul Pierce was fantastic in the second half for the Nets. His hot hand may have been the biggest factor in the Nets resurgence post-Lopez injury, and he’ll probable be great in D.C. But with the Nets’ emphasis on athleticism, Bogdanovic is the type of player Brooklyn needs for the future. Ultimately, I think fans will be happy with what we’ve got.


Karasev excited to be a Net, eager to learn

The Nets acquired Sergey Karasev from the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 10, along with Jarret Jack. Karasev, who was drafted No. 19 overall in 2013 but spent most of last season in the D-League, is playing for the Russian national team this summer to prepare for the FIBA championships.

“I loved Cleveland, but the move to Brooklyn, I believe, is a positive step. Andrei Kirilenko plays there. There’s Mikhail Prokhorov and a lot of Russians. I’m sure I will be comfortable,” he said after a workout in Moscow (NetsDaily, July 26).

He’s looking forward to speaking with and learning from players who speak his native language, and those who don’t. He noted that the Nets have “stellar teachers” as he listed Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Kirilenko.

Brian Erni

The Nets love the Russian market, one that it relatively untapped when it comes to the NBA. With Kirilenko, and now Karasev, in tow, Brooklyn basketball is all the more sexy to the international fan, especially on the shores of Brighton Beach.

But on top of the marketing potential, the Nets have a legitimate top tier international talent here, not to mention a great mentor in AK47. The Cavs know Karasev has an incredibly high ceiling, but they were in unload salary to get LeBron James mode. The Nets took advantage. Watch for the barely 20 year old to show flashes of brilliance with his shooting while he develops, and don’t be shocked if and when he evolves into lethal scoring threat.

In case you missed it…

The Nets will hold a press conference on Monday to introduce forward Bojan Bogdanovic, a 25-year-old Croatian who signed a three-year deal. >>> Read more at ESPN New York. 

The Nets, as currently constituted, will have a payroll of $94 million and a projected luxury tax payroll of nearly $36 million. The Nets spent nearly $200 million last year in payroll and luxury tax and had a tax payment of nearly $64 million. >>> Read more at ESPN. 


Nets sign Jefferson and Brown

The Nets signed Cory Jefferson and Markel Brown, the team said in a release.

The two signings would take the Nets roster to 15 players.

Jefferson (pictured), out of Baylor, averaged 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Bears last season. He is listed at 6 foot 9 inches and 220 pounds. The Nets selected him with the No. 59 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

With the No. 44 pick in the NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Markel Brown out of Oklahoma State, who was sent to the Nets. The Nets dealt for the pick position in a deal for cash with the Minnesota Timberwolves (SNY Nets, June 26).

The 6-foot-3-inch, 190 pound shooting guard averaged 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game with the Cowboys last season.

Brian Erni

The most exciting aspect about these prospects is their athleticism, and I’m so excited to see what each can do in training camp. Jefferson is a freak of nature. Don’t believe me? Check out the highlight at the 37 second mark of his ultimate hightlight reel. How does a guy who is 6’9 do that?! There’s a lot of upside in both of these guys, and with some seasoning and help from the veteran leadership, I think both can be useful NBA players. As it is, the Nets’ roster is nearing its completion stage, and it’s a much different look than the slow-footed team of a year ago.

Nets sign Bojan Bogdanović

The Nets have signed Bojan Bogdanović to a multi-year contract, the team announced.

“Having drafted Bojan in 2011, it is rewarding to finally welcome him to the Nets,” GM Billy King said in a release. “We obviously have a high regard for his game, and we are glad he will now bring that talent to Brooklyn.”

The Nets deal for Bogdanović is for a reported 3 years, $10.1 million (Wojnarowski, July 22)

Brian Erni

We’ve been discussing this as if it was fact for a few weeks, but now it’s finally official. The 25 year old Bosnian comes over with gobs of both experience and potential. The Nets wanted to bring Bojan over last season, but his buyout proved too expensive. Now, they have the room at forward to give him a chance, and it’s their hope that he can hit the ground running. There will be a transition period. There always is with foreign players. But NBA people have and continue to rave about Bogdanović’s skills, so don’t be surprised if he makes an immediate impact.

From the Nets:  To read more of this story, click here