Latest posts by Ian Scott McCormick (see all)
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I’ve begun this draft as the Nets are still very much alive. Make no mistake, they will have been long dispatched by the time that you read this. In the event that they manage to come back and force a Game 6 in Brooklyn, I promise that I will change the URL and start anew. That won’t happen though.
The Sixers had scored 14 points before the Nets arrived on the scoreboard. Before long they had gone on their 2nd 20-2 run to start a half in this five game set. With under four minutes to go in the first, the Nets had somehow failed to score that elusive third point, and there was a real chance that they might not score double digits by the end of the quarter. As I write this, they are down 45-21. They are getting their asses wrecked.
This is fine. This is what I’d signed up for. It’s been a magical ride, and these are the endings that you have to condition yourself for when you decide to cover and then hopefully cheer on a franchise that isn’t favored to win the title. Could they have won a first round series? I suppose. I told myself that they might if everything broke right. But that’s the impossible dream that any romantic chases in spite of all logic and historical context. For whatever reason, NBA playoff success does not simply manifest out of thin air. Young teams are forced to learn how to win in the playoffs. Players need to mature. They need to know what to expect, and have to learn how to play in an environment filled with raised expectations, against teams who may very well have an additional gear or three. Optimists might tell themselves that there is a bliss in ignorance, and that teams could be too stupid to realize that they don’t really belong, but in practice the naive teams get eaten. In baseball it is entirely possible for a team to graduate from mediocrity to World Series champions in a single season. It happens from time to time in the NFL. I don’t follow the NHL. But it just does not happen in the NBA. For the Brooklyn Nets, this is very much their initiation season. With any luck, one season in the near future they will evolve into a savvy team fully capable of ending somebody else’s season. Or they will fall apart for whatever reason, and this season is a blip in a sea of piss poor basketball. Nothing is guaranteed.
They got their asses kicked. Spectacularly so. I could focus on that, but that’s not what we should take away from the season. At 42-40 for the regular season, this year could only be called a total success. Last season they went 28-54. The season before they went 20-62. The season before that they went 21-61. 69 wins in three very “un-nice” seasons. They had no first round pick in 2016, and had to trade away Thaddeus Young to get the rights to the Pacer’s 21st pick, Caris LeVert. The following year, they would have to trade away Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCollough to Washington for the 21st pick, where they grabbed Jarrett Allen (The Knicks took Frank Ntilikina with the 8th pick, for what that’s worth). They grabbed Spencer Dinwiddie from the G-League. They took on D’Angelo Russell who noted stable genius Blood Sugar Unprotected-Sex Magik Johnson called out as an immature punk who will never be as good as Lonzo Ball. They found Joe Harris. The found the best Latvian player in NYC with Rodions Kurucs in the second round. They did not have their own picks for the majority of this rebuild, and the one they did was swapped with the Celtics 27th selection (which turned out to be Kyle Kuzma, but still). The point is that things did not have to go so swimmingly. This season could have been much, M U C H bleaker. So they lost to the 76ers, the least likable team the league has seen in decades. Fine. That’s okay. The 76ers will get theirs when they face teams that have been to the playoffs before. Brooklyn was not supposed to be here. Maybe the players will lie to you and tell you that they aren’t content to have made the playoffs, but I certainly am.
So what did we learn? Well for starters, I can become a fan of a team simply by watching them a whole bunch of times. Of course, the experiment was for me to become a fan of a bad team, but hey, what can I say? They weren’t bad. Sue me. Here are the things that I will remember:
Spencer Dinwiddie’s shoes, most notably, this gem
I’ll remember D’Angelo Russell showing us all where the heroin goes
I’ll remember the blocks
(Come on, Internet. I can’t get a gif of him blocking the shit out of the Greek Freak with a head of steam?)
I’m going to remember the comebacks against Houston and Sacramento (while conveniently forgetting about the blown leads they gave up)
I’ll remember the dance, that I, a 38 year old white dad, am definitely never allowed to attempt
I’ll remember Joe Harris lighting up the 3 point contest, utterly ruining Steph’s coronation in front of his hometown Charlotte fans.
I’ll definitely always remember the Hoodie Kermit
Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) on the game-winner: "I had Dre (Andre Drummond). They had been telling me to drive, but you know it was like the Kermit thing where you've got hoodie Kermit telling you, 'Nah, shoot the step back three, so I was like, alright cool, let's do it." pic.twitter.com/cn8Hb4HY77
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) November 1, 2018
I’ll remember Theo Pinson swimming
I’ll remember feeling as if the season was over when Caris and Spencer went down with injuries, only to watch D’Angelo Russell grow and develop into the unquestioned heart and soul of the team. And I’ll remember how those catastrophic injuries were the best possible thing that could have happened to this team, just so that we could all find out without the shadow of a doubt that D’Lo is a special player.
And yeah, I’ll remember those pieces of shit Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons laughing when discussing the elbow to Jarrett Allen’s face in the playoffs, revealing just how shitty and detestable this Philly squad truly is. Congrats, assholes. You dogged a team that probably shouldn’t have been there yet. Be careful they don’t sign that game changing superstar.
And for as much as I try to downplay the possibility, the fact remains that the Brooklyn Nets are a very attractive destination for any of the premier free agents. If Kevin Durant does leave Golden State it will be because he wants to be The Man™ on a championship team so that he can silence all the people who accused him of ring chasing and punking out by joining a squad who won 73 games the season before. Well what are the Brooklyn Nets? They’re a team in a large market, with a reputation for player development, and enough pieces so that he can sit for long stretches of the game without worrying that his teammates are going to blow the lead. I don’t know if that’s the calculus that he uses but for real, KD, this team is the Platonic ideal of what you’re looking for (in the event that you’re dumb enough to leave basketball nirvana in Golden State). Or he could go to the Knicks. Sure. That’s an option. I know I’d put my career in the hands of their brain trust. Why they’ve come up with such an innovative strategy: GET SUPERSTAR PLAYERZ. Yikes. Slow down. When did you hire Red Auerbach? There you go, Kev. You wanted to be the man? Well how’d you like to be the only player of note AND the de facto front office for the eternal tire fire that is the New York Knicks? Sounds like a blast to me.
What about Kawhi Leonard? Kawhi, I…actually, I have no idea what you’re looking for, bro. The Raptors are a pretty good spot, but maybe you want a really big market (I realize Toronto is a very big market, but like, maybe he doesn’t). I don’t know, you left the Spurs, and the Nets are very much trying to be the Spurs, but maybe you just really didn’t like Popovich. He seems cranky. But if you are looking for a new home, the Nets could use a game changing forward who brings it on defense. The Nets are a pretty good destination. Kyrie…look, I’m down to see what it looks like, but we’re up to our ears in talented guards, so maybe not you. Jimmy Butler…I don’t want you to get the max, and I don’t love the way you’ve acted in Philly, but I’m willing to overlook it for the right price. Actually I don’t know if I’m willing to overlook you doing something both reckless and corny like taking the damn mirrors out of your car because [sigh] you don’t ever want to be looking backwards. But let’s not forget that they have their own pick in the upcoming draft. No, it’s not a lottery pick, as they made the playoffs, but did you not read that they found Caris and Allen with the 20th and 21st picks? They could very much strike oil one more time. What I’m getting at is that the Nets can get very good, very quickly.
This season has been a wild ride. I’ve threatened to quit, I’ve accused them of tanking, and I really didn’t know if I’d find a way to get through the whole thing. It was a grind. It was the most fun that I absolutely never want to have ever again. That’s right, I’m following the time honored tradition of sports personalities vowing to spend more time with their family. There will be no Infinite Nets next season. And if anybody else tries, I will sue you. Perhaps I will show up from time to time, whenever I’m feeling inspired, but I need a nap. I need to get back to finishing my next novel, and hopefully publishing my first. Will I get it published? Probably not, but I’m a dreamer. I have to try.
Oh, and I should probably say something about Infinite Jest.
It’s terrible. Don’t read it. By the way, I had no idea but there is absolutely a stigma about the types of people who love that book. You could go down that rabbit hole, but just look at this guy.
He goes on to say he doesn’t care why people don’t like IJ. Cool cool cool. Maybe don’t title your video “Why Do People Hate Infinite Jest?” if you don’t care why they don’t like the book, asshole.
Anyway, thanks for reading this.
The Brooklyn Nets are slated to pick 17th, 27th, and 31st in the upcoming draft.
Have a great summer.