Training camps start next week for five teams, and preseason games are just a couple of weeks away. The excitement is palpable as we build towards the 2014-2015 season with players who should have breakout or standout seasons. Here are five players in the Eastern Conference – one at each position, no rookies – who will take the next step towards greatness this upcoming season.
In an interview in April 2013, Kevin Durant told Sports Illustrated he was tired of finishing second. Durant was the second player taken in the 2007 draft. He lost in the NBA Finals in 2012. He finished second in MVP voting four times. This past season, Durant took a huge step forward when he won his first MVP award, finally emerging from the shadow cast by LeBron James. But if he doesn’t win an NBA championship in the next two years with
BROOKLYN — One season after the Jason Kidd experiment failed in bizarre fashion, the Brooklyn Nets introduced the man the franchise should have hired in the first place. Lionel Hollins isn’t here for power struggles, whether they be with staff members, GM Billy King or ownership. He’s here to coach. “I’m a basketball coach,” Hollins said. “I don’t want to do Billy’s job. I don’t want to do anybody else’s job in the organization but the one that I’m hired to do
Jason Kidd didn’t just burn a bridge with the Nets. He basically set it ablaze with an entire gas station’s fuel supply. Once groomed to be the face of the franchise, Kidd will now have all his images removed from Barclays Center – perhaps even his retired jersey hanging from the rafters.
Realistically, the Brooklyn Nets don’t have room for Kevin Garnett next season. Garnett had by far the worst statistical season of his career in 2013-2014, capped off by a two-point, eight-rebound performance in Wednesday’s Game 5 loss to Miami that eliminated Brooklyn. Garnett scored 24 points total in the five games against the Heat and is a sad shell of his former self on the floor. Garnett is scheduled to make $12 million next season in the final year of his contract and is considering
When the Brooklyn Nets acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry last summer, Mikhail Prokhorov said, “Today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets.” Neither Garnett, Pierce nor Prokhorov was smiling after the Miami Heat eliminated Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games. “The only reason we came to Brooklyn was to win another ring,” Garnett said. In retrospect, Brooklyn took a gamble that didn’t pay off. The Nets gave up a king’s ransom to acquire Garnett and Pierce to
Mikhail Prokhorov didn’t get his money’s worth from Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Game 2 against the Miami Heat. After Williams posted a scoreless game, ESPN’s Bill Simmons ripped Brooklyn’s franchise player after the putrid performance. “Brook Lopez had a better game tonight than Deron Williams,” Simmons said. The criticism for Williams was warranted after the $100 million man posted a donut in the scoring column, but he isn’t the only person who should be called out for his poor
Why did the Nets acquire Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from Boston last offseason, mortgaging key future assets to do so? To help win a championship? To be on the floor in important moments in the playoffs, where their championship experience and leadership would prove invaluable to a team that previously had no players with real, legitimate postseason success? In the most important moments in the Brooklyn Nets’ season, the final minutes of the team’s Game 5 loss in Toronto, Pierce and