Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's interesting and fun - if only for one day...

I came into this season full of hope and expectation. The Big Three are signed. Curly's back. They added some legit height with Magloire. Boone and Williams should be better. This kid Sean Williams is supposed to be the real deal. Kidd's domestic stuff is in the past.

I had a good feeling...

Five games in it looked good. 4-1. Clutch victory against a quality team in the Bulls. Favorable schedule featuring a lot of home games against teams they should beat. This team could win 50 or even more.

By Thanksgiving this season looked a lot like last season - underperformance, listlessness, a coach who could not help his team in game. After a 7-1 spurt to get them back over .500, they nosedived in 9 ugly losses followed by some ugly wins, then more ugly losses. In the middle of that, on January 16, I pronounced the season as "done".

I didn't go to many home games. I had to drag myself to those I did go to. It was a broken record. More of the same. Underperformance. Listlessness. Lack of passion. And no end was in sight.

I didn't want to see Jason Kidd go. I wanted him to rally the troops and make a charge at the playoffs. But on the last day of the road trip he had checked out. A miserable loss to a miserable team. Predictable misery lay ahead. My only hope was having Frank let go, and it was clear that wasn't gonna happen. My hope lay in the possibility that Ratner would face more delays and relent, allowing the team to be sold to someone who would bring them to where they belong - Newark.

Now Kidd is gone. Frank's still here. The Brooklyn thing is still on.

Yet ironically I now feel like I have something to get excited about! It was not the move I wanted to see happen, but the Kidd trade broke the logjam.

Now we will see if LFrank can coach.

Now we will see if RJ or VC have what it takes to be leaders, and mentors.

Now we'll see if all that Net young talent can rise to the fore and deliver.

The first venturing out last night answered a resounding Yes! to all those questions.

I'm interested to see how Frank's coaching style changes. He did a creditable job of in-game coaching. Does he have it in him after all?

Could it be that he was handcuffed by Kidd, that it was JKidd's demands that forced him into his formulaic substitution patterns? I often remarked to my wife, even when Byron was coach - It's like Kidd has it written into his contract - I'll only play 35 minutes, I have to be taken out of every first quarter with 2 minutes to go, I have to sit the first 5 minutes of the 4th, no matter the score... Perhaps I was right and didn't know it...

I'm interested to see if RJ can now get out from under Kidd's shadow. I want to see if Carter can lead and mentor young players. I want to see if Jefferson and VC can in fact play complementary basketball together. I want to see what kind of talent we actually do have.

I want to see if that youth and new found leadership, both on the court and of the coach, can carry the Nets to the playoffs, in the 5th or 6th seed. I want to see how many games over .500 they can finish. I want to see if these men have pride, or if they're just gonna let the franchise seep back into the industrial Xanadu swamp.

Yesterday was seductive, I tell no lie.

Let's see what we've got here - in talent, heart and intelligence.

This will be interesting - and it could wind up being fun after all...

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