While I strongly disagree that the Brooklyn Nets have all the tools in place to satisfy their owners’ five year championship plan, I sure did find the short little tidbit that ESPN posted of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s speech at the grand opening of the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. He really didn’t say anything too offbeat or outwardly hilarious while making his statements but he just had a great delivery and totally tried to make it seem like he was one of Brooklyn’s own, even though his thick Russian accent would tell you otherwise. Let’s face it, Prokhorov not being American doesn’t really matter anyway…I’m sure the US government could just give him citizenship on the grounds that he’s filthy rich and he can clearly afford to pay a Broadway performer to act as his stand in anyway and pretend to be the American Mikhail Prokhorov.
While we’re on the subject of Prokhorov trying to relate to Brooklyn natives, there’s one thing his team hasn’t been able to relate to in the NBA….Winning! The Nets franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2006-07 season. While they are pretty much a sure fire bet to make it this coming year, I think most of us can agree that Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brooke Lopez don’t exactly form a championship caliber big three, and they are certainly not built to dispose of the reigning champion Miami Heat or the revamped Los Angeles Lakers.
I especially don’t like the addition of Joe Johnson and think the $90 million he is owed over the next three years is way to over priced, even if the acquisition of Johnson is just a cost of doing business with Deron Williams. Johnson was the leader of a mediocre and definitely not championship caliber Atlanta Hawks team, and since a championship is the only goal that will satisfy this current five-year plan of Prokhorov’s, I think you have got to view the Johnson move as a temporary bandaid solution. Sure he’s an All-Star, but does anyone talk about this guy in the same breath as guys who currently earn a similar annual income? (AKA Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire). I understand that Johnson wasn’t selected in the same draft year as LeBron James or Carmelo, but it doesn’t seem that too many fans or analysts ever debate about whether he’s better than any of those guys and that’s simply because he isn’t.
As for Williams and Lopez, Williams is clearly a star and the team really felt they had to have him going into a new arena with a new team name and all, and in the case of Lopez’s extension, it’s a good deal that will guarantee them solid production at fair market value and avoid any kind of distraction that would disrupt the team, especially considering how much of that there could have been with Dwight Howard in a Nets uniform.
Unless the Nets somehow land Dwight Howard after his year in Los Angeles let’s face it, they probably wont complete the goal of winning an NBA title within five years of Prokhorov buying the team, but at least there is excitement around the team and the executives there are going to great lengths to try and make things happen. As a fan of basketball, especially if you’re rooting for Brooklyn, you’ve got to be pumped about that.
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