After participating in a ribbon-cutting event of the new Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, Mikhail Prokhorov, majority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, restated that his plans for the organization are to win an NBA championship. His goal however is now to accomplish this within the next three years.
“Every team has a grand plan, and we’re moving slowly, step by step, because it’s easy to make a strong team, but it’s very difficult to make a championship team. So we are on the right way and I’m expecting our championship within three years now,” said Prokhorov to reporters last Friday morning. When the team was first purchased by Prokhorov in 2010, he reported that they would win a national title within five years.
But is this possible? Are the Nets that close to hoisting the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy? Here are three things the Nets must do in order achieve this goal:
- Improve their bench. The Nets currently have one of the worst benches not only in their division, but the entire Eastern Conference. Guard C.J. Watson and forward Reggie Evans may prove to be the best players currently off the bench for the team, which isn’t saying much at all. The Nets need to add experience to their front court, improved guard play, and need to add a sharp-shooter to their bench if they expect to win a title in the very near future.
- Get Howard. In order for the Nets to compete for a world title, they need to sign all-star center Dwight Howard during the offseason next year. Howard has been the most impactful inside presence in the league since Shaquille O’Neal’s domination with the LA Lakers. Signing him would give the Nets the best starting lineup in the league by miles. It would also improve their bench since Kris Humphries is better and more dynamic coming off the bench. Although signing the big man would cost a mint (and go over the salary cap by tens of millions due to the new luxury tax rules), the billionaire owner should be able to afford it without flinching. With Howard, a championship is virtually imminent.
- Establish an identity. Most good (not great) teams in the NBA fail to reach their maximum potential because they never determine a team philosophy or identity by which the team plays and operates. Teams like the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks are all solid playoff teams, but do not achieve greatness because they do not have a team identity by which they operate, which makes it difficult to strategize and gameplan. It is even difficult to effectively build a team roster without an identity because you never know what players you need to acquire and in what area(s) you are lacking and need to improve. The leagues most success teams all have a philosophy, and the Nets will need to establish one before they can think championship by 2015.
The Nets undeniably have a ways to go until they can seriously be in title talks. However, this goal is in sight, and with the bankroll and intuition of Nets ownership, I won’t discredit these team goals and the owners proclamations. Not yet, at least.