On Saturday night, the Brooklyn chants will be heard around the world. This will be exciting to be apart of alongside every other Brooklyn Nets fan.
The chant will be for good reason, because of the team that Brooklyn now owns:
The Starting Five:
Point Guard: Deron Williams
Shooting Guard: Joe Johnson
Small Forward: Gerald Wallace
Power Forward: Kris Humphries
Center: Brook Lopez
This top five was assembled by new General Manager Billy King, and was put together to be one of the most balanced, and offensively efficient units in the game. "Brooklyns Backcourt" of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson will demand a lot of attention from every team in the league. These two will work so well together, because Deron Williams is at his finest when he has someone to dish the ball to, or when somebody else is drawing as much attention as he is. Williams is a scorer, but its his ability to pass the ball that makes him one of the best point guards in the game today. Johnson on the other hand, is a pure scorer. With Phoenix he had Steve Nash to do the dirty work which allowed him to get open, and hit any shot. He can go back to being that type of player with Williams, rather than carrying a squad like he did while in Atlanta. Johnson knows how to get open on the perimeter, and that will make it tough for teams to control either of the two guards because of their ability to do so many different things. Whether Johnson is posting up for Williams, or getting open on the perimeter, defenses will be caught confused often. All of that, is easy to be said because of the balance within the final three of the five starters.
At small forward, the Nets have one of the better defenders in the game today. Gerald Wallace will always be on the opposing teams best guard, but because he can put up such a tough battle with them all. Not only can he play tremendous defense, but goes hard to the rim, and draws plenty of fouls. When not fouled, Wallace will finish a lot of drives to the hoop, and that's why he's such an effective player. Wallace brings the energy, the defense, the toughness, and the ability to score. It's also awfully tough to contain Wallace when going for a rebound which adds to his importance to the Nets starting five.
At power forward, Billy King retained Kris Humphries who averaged a double-double the last two seasons. He is not liked by many, because of his marriage with Kim Kardashian, but he can play ball. He fits in well with this team, because he won't be depended on, but will do enough to make this starting five as good as it should be. His rebounding ability of just over 10 a game will be oh so important to the success of the top five.
At center Brook Lopez returns, who barely saw the court last year because of a fractured foot. This will be a big addition back to the team standing at 7 feet tall. The biggest knock on Lopez, and what keeps him from the "star center" label is that his 6 rebounds a game is way to low for such a physically gifted athlete. Lopez needs more fire to take the next step, and Gerald Wallace will definitely be someone to look to as a motivator. If Lopez can learn to play with half as much energy and attitude as Wallace, then maybe Shaq won't look so wrong for saying how great he thinks Lopez is.
This starting five will put up a lot of points, and win the rebound bout on a lot of nights. The fire power is so strong which is why the hype of this move to Brooklyn is so big. This is a team that will instantly compete with the Knicks for New York City, just based on how their top fives matchup vs one another. The defense will be the biggest hinderance to the Nets team, but that's something Avery Johnson must and will clean up as the season moves forward. Expect the team to give up lots of points early on, but if Williams and Johnson can learn to focus on defense a bit more, then that will lead the team to becoming consistent on both sides of the ball.
With this starting five and important, skilled bench players like C.J Watson, MarShon Brooks, Tornike Shengelia, Andray Blatche, and Keith Bogans the Nets are deep. Watson filled in for Derrick Rose last season, and did so in a way that impressed Billy King, and a lot of other general managers. Big kudos to King for reeling him in as one of the better bench players in the league with lots of upside. MarShon Brooks is entering his second season, and will be the backup to Joe Johnson, which will be an excellent spot for him. He won't play much, but proved that he can score in bunches for the 15 minutes that he will be in the game night in and night out. Shengelia comes in as the hot prospect from Europe and a lot scouts believe he will be a solid contributor for the Nets. He will rotate in at the small forward position, and shouldn't look or play out of place vs the opposition. Him and Blatche can do big things down low, when substitution time rolls around. Bogans is the best defender of this group, so he will get some minutes when the Nets are struggling to keep the ball out of their hoop. The Nets won't see a lot of Tyshawn Taylor, Josh Childress, Jerry Stackhouse, Reggie Evans, or Mirza Teletovic. These players' roles could expand differently as the year goes on, but mainly won't have a significant impact on this team unless the Nets become injury plagued.
The Brooklyn Nets have what it takes to be a 50 win team. A 50-32 record shouldn't be too high of expectations because that would mean a second place fight with the Knicks, and also a fight between the 4th, 5th, and 6th seeds between themselves, the Knicks, and the Pacers.
Barring any significant injuries the Nets will win 50 games and receive the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn, the stage is yours.