From the moment Mikhail Prokhorov took over ownership of the New Jersey Nets, he has promised big things for the soon-to-be-in-Brooklyn franchise. First it was the guarantee of a playoff appearance this season and an NBA championship within five years followed by the plan to convert Knicks fans into Nets fans.
Unfortunately for Prokhorov and the Nets, all of that pomp had been met with mostly disappointment.
After failing to get the balls to bounce their way in the lottery -- and thus missing out on PG John Wall -- the Nets still decided to put up their "Blueprint For Greatness" billboard featuring Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z right in front of the Knicks' offices at the corner of 34th and 8th.
Once the most talked about free agency period in league history opened, New Jersey once again came up empty handed. Instead of stars like LeBron James or Amar'e Stoudemire, the Nets settled for role players Travis Outlaw, Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro and Anthony Morrow.
Then of course there was the months-long saga surrounding Carmelo Anthony and trying to convince him to commit long-term to the Nets. Just when we thought Porkhorov put an end to that pursuit, the Nuggets brought them right back in down the stretch to make sure they got a better deal from the New York Knicks. This led to a familiar outcome, an empty feeling for the Nets and their briefly energized fan base.
As the team seemingly prepared to limp to the finish of another season, pinning future hopes on a weak draft class and the 2012 free agents... We got to see a bit of that Prokhorov shrewdness in action.
From out of nowhere, the Nets swooped in hours after losing out on Anthony and acquired arguably the best point guard in the league -- Deron Williams -- for half of what they were offering the Nuggets. A superstar player that no one thought was on the market, was all of a sudden a New Jersey Net.
And just like that we can finally see that blueprint for greatness coming into focus. Funny thing is, it doesn't have anything to do with billboards, press conferences or radio commercials. Instead, it looks a lot like the one Rod Thorn used to bring the Nets to the brink of winning an NBA title.
Find a veteran, elite point guard (Jason Kidd) to pair with a young, promising low post player that isn't built to carry a team (Kenyon Martin) and surround them with a couple good sidekicks (Richard Jefferson, Kerry Kittles).
Remember, the Nets won just 26 games the season before Kidd arrived in New Jersey. The next two years with the league's best running the point, the Nets averaged over 50 wins and made back-to-back trips to the finals.
It's too early to tell if any of the necessary supporting players are already on the roster -- Anthony Morrow? -- but Williams and Brook Lopez give the Nets a very familiar look. A look that served Thorn and New Jersey well and could do the same for King, Prokhorov and Brooklyn.