By Craig Fields
Brook Lopez went down with a broken foot injury on December 20, and is expected to be out the rest of the season. He will get the surgery necessary to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The 25-year old star center has had the same problem with the same foot twice before. History has shown us that when a big man has recurring foot problems, his career often ends prematurely and disappointingly.
The Brook-less Nets, however, have already been a great disappointment this season. Without Lopez they are 1-3, with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, who look as if they are on a mission.
Flirting with championship notions, while assembling a team that Methuselah would be a proud member of, is not going the way that owner Mikhail Prokhorov envisioned. And really why would it. You have a rookie head coach, a team that lacks cohesiveness, and a fan base that, though passionate, boos this team at the drop of a hat.
When Lopez went down, any hope that this team had to turn it around also went down. Now, standing at 10-20, the Brooklyn Nets look as lost and confused on the court as the Chicago Bulls do without Derrick Rose.
Even in the weakened state of the Eastern Conference, if the maligned Nets were able to somehow make it to the playoffs, that would probably be considered a small miracle. A team whose salary cap is the highest in the league at over 102 million dollars this year, just might have the lowest expectations which are to hopefully make the playoffs.
You can’t just buy a championship. To win a championship you need players who not only know their role, but they embrace it. You need chemistry. Chemistry is not just some number that the programmers on NBA2K put on there to make the game seem more real. It is an actual important and intangible concept that is imperative to understand when building a championship contender.
Unfortunately for the likes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, there does not appear to be a ride off into the sunset type scenario this year. Paul Pierce is trying to provide some leadership and an identity to this struggling team.
“There’s only one ball, but it’s how you move the ball,” Pierce said. “We can’t all go in figuring we got to be the guy. If you get the ball moving and get five or six guys in double figures, that’s the kind of balance we want to look for because we have the type of players who are capable of that.”
Whether they can put it all together this year or not remains to be seen. One thing that is certain is that with the way things are now, this team does not stand a chance.