39-19 • 2nd in EASTERN CONFERENCE
The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball team that plays in the Atlantic Division of the National Basketball Association's Eastern Conference. Founded in 1967, the Brooklyn-based side has recently emerged as one of the title-favorites in the league after creating a Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. The Nets play their home games at the Barclays Center.
Over the span of five and a half decades since their inception, the Nets have bagged a total of two championships. Both titles came during the ABA era as the then-New York Nets won the 1974 and 1976 titles. The great Julius "Dr. J" Irving led the charge during those two historic title runs, and he is considered by many as the greatest player in franchise history. Irving is joined by the likes of Jason Kidd, Buck Williams, Vince Carter, and Derrick Coleman as a few other all-time greats for the Nets franchise.
The Nets have seen a significant increase in their stature over the past three years. After logging just 48 wins in two seasons (2016-17 and 2017-18), Brooklyn turned their fortunes around during the 2018-19 campaign. Following a 42-win season, the Nets cracked the playoffs for the first time in five years. Brooklyn continued to build a winning culture, as they broke through to the playoffs again the following season. Both postseason runs, however, ended in early first-round exits.
2021 could be their year, though, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving taking the floor together for the first time. The Nets also added another former MVP in James Harden early in the campaign, making them one of the top title favorites. The Nets could be in line for their third championship in franchise history and their first in the NBA.
The Nets made waves in the NBA by bringing in James Harden from the Houston Rockets in what is undeniably a huge move that reshaped the landscape of the league. Brooklyn made it abundantly clear that they are going for the NBA title.
With Harden joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, it's hard not to consider this team as a heavy favorite to go all the way in 2021. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the helm, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are still the top pick to win the 2021 championship, but the Nets will pose a major threat to LA going back-to-back.
On paper, there's no denying that the Nets have the roster to take down the mighty Lakers. However, the biggest question on everybody's mind is if these three superstars will be able to co-exist. As it appears, one of the biggest roadblocks Brooklyn will face in their quest for a title is their defense.
The newly-formed trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most formidable Big 3's in league history. Between them ahead of the 2020-21 season, this trio has 24 All-Star appearances, 18 All-NBA selections, seven scoring titles, two MVP awards, and three NBA titles. On paper, at least, this Big 3 should be in store for a few championships.
Before we discuss how many titles this trio will be able to win for the Nets, they must get through what is arguably going to be their biggest hurdle: winning their first championship. Having three of the top players in the game on the same team does not by any means guarantee a title. It places them in a tremendous position to win a championship, but it is anything but a certainty.
The Nets will be under a microscope all season long, with the entire basketball world intently watching their every move. Their accomplishments will be downplayed while their smallest mistakes will be amplified. By uniting three superstars under one roof, such is the price this team will have to pay. In the watchful eye of analysts and casual NBA fans alike, this Big 3 will have accomplished nothing until they bag their first title. If and when they achieve this gargantuan task, then we can more realistically discuss how many titles they will win.
Right now, it's easy to assume that with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden all in the mix, the Brooklyn Nets are going to struggle with too many ball-dominant superstars on the same squad. It just makes sense considering the style of play of these three guys.
You have to note, however, that this trio is well aware of this perception. As such, they will do everything in their power to ensure that this does not become a problem. These are three intelligent players who have a single goal in mind: winning an NBA championship. So long as they stay the course, their egos should not stand in the way of their ultimate objective.
It is worth noting, however, that among the three, it's James Harden that has yet to prove his ability to find success playing alongside other superstars. Kevin Durant has won multiple titles with the Golden State Warriors, while Irving earned his chip with the Cleveland Cavaliers playing alongside LeBron James.
For his part, Harden has already been paired with Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, which did not exactly turn out well for the Houston Rockets. Based on history, at least, Harden remains to be the wildcard in this equation, and his ability to adapt to playing a lesser role with his new team will be pivotal to Brooklyn's success.
When the Nets officially made the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn back in 2012, one of the most high-profile names behind the move was none other than Grammy-award winning rapper and producer Jay-Z. However, the hip-hop mogul didn't actually stay on as a team owner for very long.
In 2013, Jay-Z sold his minority ownership to Jason Kidd. Jay-Z, real name Shawn Corey Carter, reportedly sold his .067 percent ownership or 1/15th of a percent to the NBA legend for $500,000.
Jay-Z played an undeniably huge role for the Nets when the franchise moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn back in 2012. Himself a Brooklyn native, the hip-hop icon played a key role in not only rebranding the Nets, but he also played a hand in recruiting players to join the team.
Not long after purchasing a small stake in the franchise, Jay-Z decided to sell his minority ownership. In 2013, he reportedly sold his .067 percent stake (1/15th of a percent) for $500,000. According to reports, Jay-Z's decision to set up Roc Nation Sports, his own agency that represents several big-name NBA stars, created a conflict of interest, which is why Jay-Z had to sell his stake.
It was legendary point guard Jason Kidd who purchased Jay-Z's share in 2013.
The Nets didn't do too much in the offseason in terms of adding new players via free agency. However, they did bring on veteran forward Jeff Green into the fold which has proven to be an outstanding move for the team thus far.
Over his first 25 games for the Nets, the 34-year-old averaged 9.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists, while also draining 1.6 triples per game on a 43.3-percent clip.
Head coach Steve Nash seems to love Green and what the vet brings to the table, and Nash has been providing Green with a lot of playing time thus far. Green's versatility has been a key factor in his increased role, with the 6-foot-8 forward even drawing a couple of spot starts at the center position for Nash.
At just $2.6 million this season, Green is looking like an absolute bargain for the Nets. He is currently on a one-year deal, and based on what we've seen from him thus far, it would truly be in Brooklyn's best interest to bring him back next season.
It is worth noting, however, that if Green keeps playing this well for the Nets, then Brooklyn might have some competition for Green’s signature come free agency.
Despite the fact that both James Harden and Kyrie Irving are currently on the Nets roster, there's no denying that Kevin Durant is the team's best player. Harden and Irving are all-time greats and will both likely be enshrined to the Hall of Fame once they hang up their sneakers, but Durant is just at a different level.
KD has the resume to prove it, too: Rookie of the Year, 10-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA, four-time scoring champion, two-time All-Star MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 2014 regular season MVP, and most importantly, two-time NBA champ.
Durant is also coming off a career-threatening Achilles injury which forced him to sit out the entirety of the 2019-20 season. Based on his strong start to the new campaign, the 32-year-old is looking like the exact same player he was prior to the injury. Achilles injuries are some of the toughest to recover from for athletes, but the fact that Durant appears to have put that behind him completely further speaks volumes of his greatness.
As of February 2021, Forbes lists the Brooklyn Nets franchise to be worth $2.65 billion.
The franchise is currently owned by billionaire businessman Joseph Tsai, who purchased the team for $3.3 billion. Tsai initially bought a 49% stake of the franchise in 2017 from Mikhail Prokhorov. Two years later, Tsai exercised his right to buy the remaining stake of the team, as well as Brooklyn's home arena, the Barclays Center, for another $1 billion.
According to Forbes, the Nets listed $280 million in revenue from the 2019-20 season, as well as an operating income of $44 million.
The Nets play their home games in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The arena broke ground in March 2010 and opened its gates in September of 2012. The construction of the state-of-the-art stadium was estimated to be at a whopping $1 billion. It is owned by the Empire State Development of the State of New York.
The Barclays Center can hold a capacity of up to 17,732 fans. Aside from the Nets, it is also home of the WNBA's New York Liberty. The stadium is also part of a future mixed business and residential complex called the Pacific Park estimated to be worth $4.9 billion.
While most casual NBA fans believe that Grammy award-winning hip-hop icon Jay-Z owns the Brooklyn Nets, this actually isn't the case. Jay-Z did own a minority share (just 0.67% or 1/15th of a percent) of the Nets at one point, but he sold it off once he established his own sports agency, Roc Nation Sports.
Right now, the Nets franchise is owned by billionaire businessman Joseph Tsai, who is of Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and Canadian descent. Tsai first joined the Nets ownership in 2017 when he purchased a 49% stake of the franchise from former owner Mikhail Prokhorov for an estimated $2.3 billion. In September of 2019, Tsai decided to exercise his option to buy the remaining stake of the team, while also purchasing the Barclays Center, the Nets' home arena, from Prokhorov for close to $1 billion in a separate transaction.
The Nets made quite a splash in the offseason when they decided to bring in an untested and inexperienced Steve Nash as the team's new head coach. Managing the egos of its superstars is one of the most significant tasks the new man at the helm faces. Instead of hiring a veteran head coach who has had experience managing egos, Brooklyn's front office opted for a rookie coach in Nash.
Despite his lack of experience as a head coach, Nash is an all-time great point guard -- one of the greatest to ever play the sport. He was one of the best floor generals during his playing days, and the Nets are banking on the fact that this will translate to his coaching.
Needless to say, Nash has a ton of pressure on his shoulders in his first season in Brooklyn. It's championship or bust for this team; anything less than a title will be a disappointment. Nash will look to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Steve Kerr, Tyronn Lue, and Nick Nurse, who all won an NBA title in their first year as an NBA head coach.
With rookie head coach Steve Nash taking over for the Nets for the 2020-21 season, Brooklyn’s front office made sure to surround him with as much help as possible in his first year.
The most significant addition to Nash's coaching staff was Mike D'Antoni, who spent the last few seasons as the head coach for the Houston Rockets. Notably, it was D'Antoni who coached Nash for many years during their time together with the Phoenix Suns. During that time, Nash bagged back-to-back MVP awards as he led one of the best offenses in recent history. The Nets are hoping that this renewed partnership will help lead the team to glory this season.
Nash also has a number of former NBA players working under him as assistants. This includes Tiago Splitter, Adam Harrington, Ime Udoka, Amar’e Stoudemire, Royal Ivey, and finally, Jacque Vaughn, who served as Brooklyn's interim head coach last season after the team parted ways with Kenny Atkinson. Jordan Ott and Lance Harris are the only Nets assistant coaches with no playing experience in the NBA.
The Nets went all-in on Steve Nash during the offseason, hiring the Hall of Fame point guard as the team's new head coach in spite of the fact that he has no prior experience as a head coach in the league. Nash precedes a long line of all-time great coaches who have spent time at the helm for the Nets at one point in their respective coaching careers.
Lawrence Frank, who was head coach for the Nets between 2004 and 2009, starts our list here today. Prior to being promoted as the squad's head coach, Frank served as an assistant for four and a half seasons. Frank amassed 225 wins during his time with the franchise, while also bagging four Coach of the Month awards.
Second on our list is Byron Scott, who was the man in charge during the early days of the Jason Kidd era in New Jersey. This resulted in back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. During the 2001-02 season, Scott led the Nets to a 52-win season, which is still the most in their history since coming to the NBA from the ABA . Scott coached the Nets for four seasons, during which he recorded 149 wins against 139 losses.
Last but not least is the legendary Kevin Loughery, who made Nets franchise history by leading the team to two ABA titles in 1974 and 1976. To this day, these are the only two championships for the franchise, with the Nets yet to bag a title in the NBA era. Having won 297 regular-season victories in eight years, Loughery holds the record for the most wins in Nets franchise history.
Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving will likely have their respective spots in the Nets' all-time greats list somewhere down the road. However, they have yet to achieve anything for the team as of early 2021, which is not something we can say about these five other Nets legends below.
Drafted by the Nets as the first overall pick in 1990, Derrick Coleman immediately paid dividends for the squad by winning the Rookie of the Year award. The 6-foot-10 big man spent a total of five seasons with the Nets, which included an All-Star Game appearance in 1994. During his stint with the franchise, Coleman averaged 19.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game.
Widely considered as one of the greatest ever, Vince Carter spent five seasons with the Nets in his prime. After making his name with the Toronto Raptors early in his career, the Nets traded for Carter in a deal that saw Alonzo Mourning, among others, move in the opposite direction. It turned out to be an outstanding deal for New Jersey, with Carter returning averages of 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals in five seasons with the squad.
The 1980s Nets would not have been the same without Buck Williams. A 6-foot-8 forward coming out of Maryland, Williams was scooped up by the Nets as the third overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft. Not only did he win Rookie of the Year honors, but he was also named into the All-Star squad in his very first season in the league. Williams, who played for the Nets for eight seasons, also holds several franchise records for the Nets, including games played, minutes played, free-throws made, and rebounds.
Jason Kidd was the Nets' superstar when they memorably won the Eastern Conference title in back-to-back seasons in 2002 and 2003. Kidd led the charge for the Nets during their historic 52-win campaign in 2001-02, which remains the franchise record in the NBA era. Kidd currently holds the franchise record for most three-pointers, assists, and steals.
Finally, we have the great Julius Erving, who led the Nets -- then the New York Americans -- to two ABA titles in three years. Irving spent the majority of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, and as a matter of fact, the Hall of Famer played for the Nets franchise for just three seasons. Nevertheless, Dr. J bagged the MVP award in all three seasons, making him one of the greatest of all time not only in franchise history, but in the record books of the sport as well.
The Nets franchise made the move to Brooklyn in 2012. However, this storied team has been in existence long before the high-profile move to New York. As a matter of fact, the franchise was born in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans in the ABA.
Since then, more than a few players have gained legendary status with the franchise.
Then the New York Nets, this team dominated the ABA during the squad's early years. This resulted in two championships in three years in 1974 and 1976. One of the most important players for the Nets at that time was Bill Melchionni. The 6-foot-1 point guard led the league in assists in two separate seasons while also being named to the All-Star squad three times and the All-ABA team once.
While Melchioinni played a pivotal role for the Nets' two championships, it was the great Julius Erving that led the way for the team. Considered by many as one of the all-time greats, Dr. J bagged two MVP titles in all three seasons of his rather short-lived tenure with the franchise.
Playing alongside Erving was John Williamson, who himself is also seen by many Nets fans as a legend for the franchise. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard spent a total of seven seasons with the organization, putting up career averages of 17.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.
Next up is the great Buck Williams, who plied his trade with the Nets during the 1980s. The 6-foot-8 power forward played in New Jersey for eight years and in the process set the franchise record for a number of categories, including games played, field goals made, free throws made, and rebounds.
Drazen Petrovic was one of the biggest what-ifs in Nets franchise history. The Croatian-born shooting guard emerged as one of the league's top backcourt players during his two-and-a-half seasons with the Nets. Behind averages of 22.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists, Petrovic earned All-NBA honors during the 1992-93 campaign. Unfortunately, he passed away in a tragic car accident that summer. Petrovic was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
When you think about the Nets during the 2000s, one name that stands out is All-Star point guard Jason Kidd. A nine-time All-Defense team member, Kidd led New Jersey to back-to-back Eastern Conference titles in 2002 and 2003. To this date, the Jason Kidd years remain the most successful run for the Nets as a franchise during the NBA era. Kidd holds the Nets' franchise records for three-pointers made, assists, steals, and triple-doubles.