Jim Mancari, SNYNets.com
OK, so the Nets lost their last two games, and yes, each were extremely ugly for one reason or another.
Such is the nature of sports. If you win, you’re a hero, and if you lose, you’re a goat.
However, several media outlets, including the New York Daily News and Boomer and Carton on WFAN, claimed that the Brooklyn Nets are just like the same-old New Jersey Nets.
The Daily News compared the Brooklyn Nets to the New Jersey Nets not only based on the second-half collapse versus the Timberwolves but also due to the “empty seats” in the Barclays Center. Here’s a thought: Tons of Brooklynites are preoccupied with trying to rebuild their lives from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and aren’t too worried about basketball at this point. This may not improve in the immediate future, either, since New York City got hit by a Nor’easter on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, Boomer and Carton said they would consider the Brooklyn Nets as the New Jersey Nets until the team establishes itself at home. Both agreed that the Knicks as still the main event in town.
This comparison to the New Jersey Nets, though slightly accurate when looking at the collapse from Monday night and the Miami blowout last night, is premature and maybe even unwarranted.
Two games, two losses.
Teams lose games, especially teams still trying to establish their identity with their new teammates and in their new home.
Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers, who are currently 1-4 after losing to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. The Lakers get the benefit of the doubt because of their winning tradition and the Nets obviously don’t have that. However, neither team’s past means that they are destined to repeat it. If the Lakers deserve patience and time to gel, the Nets do, too.
There’s a major difference here between the Brooklyn Nets and the New Jersey Nets: The New Jersey squad of last year and years prior would have been the team that was down by 22 points, not leading by 22. And the Nets were crushed by the Miami Heat last night, but the Heat are the NBA’s defending champion for a reason. They’re a pretty good team.
Thus far, despite the losses, the Brooklyn Nets have shown that they can score the ball. The success of this team, however, will be contingent on defense. There are some concerns here, but general manager Billy King is well aware.
But this is why they play 82 games. Even the best teams lose 20-30 times per season. At the end of the day, the Nets are a new team still feeling itself out. And as bad as the past two losses have been, they are only 2 of about 30-40 losses the team will have this season. There will be bad losses, and there will be big wins. And if the Nets overachieve, no one will be talking the first week of the season if they some manage to win 50 games.
In a way, these two losses may end up being a blessing in disguise for the Nets. Losses like these can knock teams down a few pegs, especially after all the hype surrounding the Nets.
On media day, Joe Johnson said that he believes the Nets can challenge the Heat for the conference title. But now, they should all realize that nothing will be handed to them and teams will not fold against them.
A learning experience, for sure.
The great thing about sports is that if you lose one night, you can redeem yourself within a few days. The Nets have two very winnable games against the Orlando Magic on Friday (in Orlando) and on Sunday (at Barclays Center).
Let’s see how they respond. The Brooklyn Nets—not the New Jersey Nets—are a work in progress.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.