Sure, it's not exactly how things were drawn up, but it's safe to say owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King's vision for the New Jersey Nets is going according to plan. It's rare to say that about a 6-13 team with just two wins at home, but it's the simple truth.
After a slow start, point guard Deron Williams has gotten his swagger back and seems poised to have the Nets firing on all cylinders when center Brook Lopez returns from a broken foot he suffered just before the regular season. Add an electric rookie season from first-round pick MarShon Brooks (15.4 ppg) and the dirty work from constantly booed double-double machine Kris Humphries (13.1/10.8) and all of a sudden the Nets look poised to make run at the playoffs in this lockout-shortened season.
That's right. Playoffs and Nets in the same sentence. But a return to the postseason for New Jersey isn't even one of the major reasons the team is on track. Because from the minute King agreed to the trade for Williams last season, it's always been about the summer of 2012 and preparing for the move to Brooklyn.
The Barclays Center is being prepared for the Nets arrival this fall and the franchise is poised to bring a fully loaded roster along for the ride.
While trading for Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard is still a very real possibility, the team is getting a close look at what happens when you trade away all of your talent for a superstar with what's going on across the river. In case they want to take the ultimate gamble, the New Jersey Nets gave the Brooklyn Nets the chance to sign Howard as a free agent by refusing to extend Lopez, who will now be a restricted free agent.
Now with a simple trade of a Johan Petro or Jordan Farmar, the Nets can re-sign Williams, sign Howard and then work out a deal with Lopez to create an immediate Eastern Conference power. Sure, it's all pie in the sky right now, but that's how it's been for this team since the idea of Brooklyn was first hatched years ago. Now that the move is within their grasp, the Nets are in position to realize another dream with Williams and Howard.
Through one quarter of the 2011-12 season, the Nets are improving and will get even better with the return of Lopez. But in the end the only thing that really matters is success in 2012-13 and beyond and for that reason things are going perfectly so far for the Nets.