Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 24, 2010

Game #72: Kings at New Jersey Nets

Tonight mortality. Tomorrow, mortality at the IZOD in sports pages tomorrow.

The Nets come into the game 7 and something. (It’s a lot of losses. Fine, it’s 63.) No matter what happens, tonight is a trap game. It’s a trap game for a team 24-47 coming into tonight. It’s rare that you can say that. In fact, if the Nets weren’t on track to lose 70+ games at the moment I wouldn’t say that. The truth is, if the Kings lose, it won’t mean much.

This is how bad the Nets season has been. The Kings got their 7th win, ironically enough, when the Nets came into Arco on November 27th. This is how bad the season was for the Nets when they hired Kiki Vandeweigh: You can argue he makes Kenny Natt look like a bonafide quality NBA head coach.

Yes, I know. If you told me any coach could possibly make Kenny Natt look good, I would have said you were the googly eyed Loch Ness monster living in Beyonce’s ass. Or some such.

Alright, the Kings are (now) 20th in offensive rating, 23rd in defensive rating, and 6th in pace. The Nets? 24th in pace, 30th in offensive rating, and 27th in defensive rating.

My point, though, is that losing tonight means little. It’s like any other loss: It only counts for 1 despite the talk it will generate that you lost to the lowly Nets. (It’s amazing. There will be relief among many that the Nets won’t break the inglorious record, and the team that “lets” them to 10 wins will be chided for it. I love people I swear.)

Brook Lopez is coming along decently. A big issue for the Nets has been their injuries, and Devin Harris not being completely healthy all season. When the Nets traded Vince Carter last off-season (a good move that has really cost them season, but not much beyond that), it hurt them in the ability to create offense. Carter took a lot of heat off Harris and Lopez and helped them in ways that maybe wasn’t recognized by all. It’s hard to win when you’re young, have talent that is still developing, and then injuries. To top it off. Lawrence Frank was fired after the Nets 17th loss (to the Kings) and Kiki Vandeweigh has proved disastrous in the coaching chair.

The good news this is pretty much a one & done deal for the Nets. They are pretty much guaranteed the worst record (and the fact that the Wolves could still lose all their games and the Nets could pass them says as much about how bad the Wolves are–the difference is that there is reasonable light at the end of the Nets tunnel right now) in the NBA which will give them the most ping pong balls in the draft.

Anyway, tonight is what it is. If the Kings lose I’ll be disappointed, but only if they give a poor effort. I’m only disappointed with this team and effort, and nothing else. Win lose or draw, this team has already mightily exceeded my expectations for them. (And my expectations were set impossibly low to begin with.)

If you don’t read Nets Daily or the Nets are Scorching, I suggest you do.

Game is at 4:30 PST. TV is CSNCA and Radio is 1140. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Sam Amick tweets that Paul Westphal had contract bonus that gave him an extra 500K if the Kings got to 25 wins. H/T Aykis.

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