What’s worse than being the worst team in basketball? Being the worst team in basketball with no immediate hope for the future.
Such is the plight of the Brooklyn Nets. Thanks to an incredibly ill-fated 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics, the Nets not only are an awful team but cannot benefit from their awfulness, as their first-round picks in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 NBA Drafts all were/are property of the Celtics.
That’s tough on Brooklyn’s players, but it’s even worse for the club’s general manager, whose role essentially is to try to win a few extra games to give the C’s a slightly less enviable draft position. Sean Marks took the open GM job in February 2016 after the team fired Billy King, but apparently it wasn’t easy for the Nets to find willing candidates.
Consider this tidbit from the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett:
“Two years ago, one of the people considering the vacant Brooklyn general manager’s job said it interested him, ‘but I didn’t want to be Boston’s b—- for the next three years.'”
That’s pretty depressing, especially because it’s true: If the Nets tank, they’re only helping the Celtics get a better position in the draft lottery.
Fortunately for Brooklyn fans, head coach Kenny Atkinson is taking a more optimistic approach. In fact, Atkinson says he’s using the Celtics as inspiration for a rebuild, as two of the team’s best players, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, are second-round picks.
“I was thinking about Crowder,” Atkinson told the Herald after Boston’s win over the Nets on Monday. “I was thinking about Isaiah Thomas. I do think about that. They have guys that weren’t top picks, and it’s great. That’s what makes it fun. You can find guys outside of the lottery. We’ve just got to be really good at identifying those guys. It’s a fun challenge.”
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images