The “Woj bomb” that pinged on all NBA fans phones Saturday mroning informed them that the Brooklyn Nets had “mutually parted ways” with their Head Coach Kenny Atkinson, in their latest radical move. Brooklyn is currently in the playoff picture sitting 7th in the conference at 29-34.
The Nets breakout season last year. They finished 6th in the conference and held a record of 42-40. They had an emerging roster of spearheaded by first time All-star D’Angelo Russell, 6th man of the year contender Spencer Dinwiddie, streaky scorer Caris LeVert returning from injury, and defensive rim protector Jarrett Allen. The energy brought to Brooklyn was the highest it has been in years and fans were getting incredibly excited about the team.
The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” did not apply to the Nets this off-season. They gunned after Kevin Durant in free agency, knowing that he would miss this season with the Achilles injury he suffered in the finals. Brooklyn understood that signing Durant would then mean bringing over Kyrie Irving, which they chose to do after his tumultuous stint in Boston paired with a long injury history throughout his career. Those signings meant they were moving on from Russell.
With their All-Star Point Guard D’Angelo Russell getting traded away and their two new franchise players playing in only a combined 20 games this season, the Nets remarkably, still are sitting 7th in the conference. Irving announced recently that he is done for the season. A Brooklyn Net team without their franchise players and head coach, are left to finish this season in the playoffs.
This season’s success did not mean it was all sunshine and rainbows in Brooklyn. There were reports on players led by Kyrie Irving were starting to turn on Coach Atkinson. After a team meeting last week, he was sent packing three days after.
Fans are left to question the direction of this team with now two of the key pieces of last year’s stellar season, now no longer with the team in Russell and Irving. It seems as though the Nets are going all in on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant’s demands and abilities to lead them to a championship, seemingly tearing down what they had just built in order to do so. It seems eerily reminiscent of the last big player overhaul they had years ago with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry that miserably failed. That led them to many years at the bottom of the conference with no draft picks or direction. Should be interesting to see how the Nets finish this season, as a lifelong fan of theirs I am certainly intrigued to say the least.
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