A little over a week ago, Nets point guard/ Chinese version of a Greek god/ Zohan hair model, Jeremy Lin spoke on behalf of the Brooklyn Nets when he said, “We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else tells me.” And yes, he was talking about the Brooklyn Nets. As a Nets fan, I absolutely love his blind confidence (before anyone makes a remark, thats not a shot at his Chinese heritage) but, if I were to say that I didn’t react even slightly to how 95% of the Twitter world reacted I’d be lying to you. When a massive sports media source like Bleacher Report basically gives you one of these
by tweeting out this
It stings a little.
Me and Jeremy both know that the Nets are not a premiere team in the league. We’re not blind to the fact (Again, I swear to God, I’m not being racist) that the Nets chalked up the worst record in the NBA last season. But, there is an o this team has the brightest mind in the NBA when it comes to the front office. When Sean Marks stepped in as the GM of the Brooklyn Nets two years ago, Billy King had left this team Gaddafi’d. Almost any other person would have left this team for dead, giving up and completely tanking until they got back a first round pick in 2019. Not Marks. Over the past two summers, Sean Marks has made something out of utterly nothing. He’s taken this Brooklyn Nets team from the absolute laughing stock of the league to a team with a legitimate chance at a strong future.
How could a man with a worse chance at having his own first round pick than mankind reaching Mars create such a positive stir for this failing franchise? Two strategies as forgotten as the sky hook and the mid range jumper: RFA’s and salary dumps. Don’t look now, but Sean Marks is doing the same thing to the NBA with RFA’s and salary dumps as George Steinbrenner did in the MLB with big free agency signings. Back then, no one made the approach to sign a massive contract to get their man. Steinbrenner revolutionized the league by doing what no one else did and I see a lot of the same qualities in Sean Marks as he leads his own form of a revolution. Marks is going after players like no one else in the league does. He signs small market restricted free agents with high potential to massive deals because of three reasons: The Nets have a surplus of cap space, The Nets don’t need to worry about having big contracts on hand until 2019 when they can officially begin a legitimate rebuild, and, if matched by the players original team, they eliminate that team from contention of other free agents they have mutual interest in by dead-bolting them to these deals to keep their restricted free agent players.
This summer, he’s brought salary dumps into the mix, creating his newest trend. The appeal to other teams is it gives them desperately desired cap space in order to allow them to go after free agents. For the Nets, it gives them players like guard/forward Allen Crabbe (A restricted free agent that they signed last year but his contract was matched), number two pick of the 2015 Draft, D’Angelo Russell, and players who are only a few years removed from being quality starting pieces Timofey Mosgov and Demarre Carroll.
Marks also plays off of the fact that his head coach, Kenny Atkinson was an assistant coach on many of these newly acquired talents. he is credited for playing a huge role in the player development of Mosgov, Carroll and Lin when he worked with the Knicks and Hawks. Atkinson having a young team to himself is a dangerous weapon in and of itself. He practically made those 3 players relevant in the league, and now with young budding talents like Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson pushing at the gate, he can slowly mold this team into a chemistry filled, well oiled machine.
Will they be playoff contenders? Probably not Jeremy, find your break and pump it. But, to say that this Nets team that was left for dead, ass up on the side of the road isn’t making incredibly quick steps to legitimacy in this league would be wrong. This team will cause excitement. They play an up tempo and modern style that will refresh basketball fans and they will be one of the most exciting lower level teams in the NBA this upcoming season. I’ll see you all at the bottom.