So, through the first six games of the NBA season, our Nets emerged 4–2.
Quick math tells me that’s twice as many wins as losses, and far better than the team’s 44–38 mark at the end of last season, but this year is just getting started and if there is one thing the Nets don’t have gobs of, it’s stamina. Anyhow, it’s too early for a sweeping prognosis, but here is how it’s looking from the rafters.
The Nets’ big-name old guys are no Murderer’s Row, but all their parts are still moving after six games. As for the bench, it’s hotter than an afternoon tryst in the upper reaches of a Prospect Park gazebo in August — trust me, I know.
The big guys from overseas are doing what they do best: hanging out 24 feet from the basket and making it rain threes that remind me of how I could use a good pothole bath. Take Bojan Bogadanovic and Mirza Teletovic. Both have impressed early, making me thank the almighty bread-crumb dispenser that I am a writer and not a TV reporter, because then I’d have to learn to pronounce those names.
The other plus side of a hot bench, for the Nets at least, is that it lets you rest the lumbering china dolls who make up your starting squad. Brook Lopez, I’m looking at you. The Big Lug is still working his way back from a never-ending succession of foot injuries, and guys named Nikola have been eating him up the way I attack a trash-can full of Shake Shack wrappers after a game. First it was Nikola Pekovic and the Timberwolves giving it to him. Then, on Sunday, it was the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic. And when Coach Lionel Hollins benched Lopez for the fourth quarter, Vucevic stopped scoring. The only conclusion we can draw from this is that Lopez is some sort of Montenegrin-good-luck charm. Or that he is in no condition to play defense. I suppose that is also possible.
Speaking of the creaky-a– arm of the team, Deron Williams claims he’s finally healthy. That sounds familiar. Didn’t we hear this last year? I suppose anything is possible, even the resurrection of the D-Will the Nets signed from Utah. And winning the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week ain’t a bad way to start. But despite the positive early returns, D-Will’s ankles are about as trustworthy as Anthony Weiner with a cellphone.
Next up (as of press time) for our Brooklyn boys and prospective AARP members: three games against some of the best in the West. Now, I love the West Coast hospitality of Safeway trash compactors as much as the next pigeon, but the trip is going to be a real schlep on my bum wing. Assuming I make it, I am eager to see BL’s Balkans curse put to the test against Golden State center Ognjen Kuzmic. The Bosnian Serb is a true end-of-the-bench-warmer, but if I was Warriors coach Steve Kerr I would put him in to see if he catches fire, the same way you test a whiskey’s alcohol content by putting a lighter to it. Even if the Nets get wasted by the stiff competition out there, let’s hope they don’t bring the hangover back to Barclays.
They say the morning after gets more painful as you get older, but I say they’re not drinking enough.
Speaking of which: spare a buck for a beer?