Four Corners: Will N.J. Nets set record for the worst team ever?

January 27, 2010

Weak schedule spares them

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel

The Nets will be spared the infamy because of the refuse that accompanies New Jersey at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

Friday, for example, the Wizards arrive at the swamp, packing neither heat nor Gilbert Arenas. Two games beyond that remain against Washington, which likely will be further deconstructed by the trading deadline.

Sunday, there is the first of two remaining games against the 76ers, coached by a coach who was dumped by those same Wizards in the offseason.

Factor in three remaining games against the team formerly known as the Pistons, as well as matchups against the Bucks, Knicks, Kings and Pacers, and a few accidental victories figure to show up along the way.

Oh, the Nets certainly will rank among the historically bad. But give Brook Lopez and Devin Harris credit, they'll find a way to crack double digits.

iwinderman@tribune.com

They better not

Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times

Will the Nets break the 76ers' record for worst season, 9-73?

Let's put it this way, they better not.

These guys, who went into Wednesday's loss, er game, against the Clippers on a 6-76 pace that would not only break but shatter the record, should win 20 games standing on their heads.

Oh, they are standing on their heads?

The Nets have rising stars Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, with more highly regarded prospects like Yi Jianlian, Terrence Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

If they win six, seven, eight, nine or 10, someone should get fired.

Oh, someone already was?

Coach Lawrence Frank went at 0-16, with Harris having missed them all and Yi playing only the first four.

GM Kiki Vandeweghe, taking over at 0-18, made a stunning coaching debut, winning two of his first three, but everyone then nodded off again. Even with Harris and Yi back, they lost 21 of their next 22.

There's no question that new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who takes over after the season, will clean house. Happily, it's not like his native country in the old days, or he might have everyone taken out and shot.

Mheisler@tribune.com

Sadly, they have talent

Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel

What's the saddest part of the New Jersey Nets' struggles? The Nets actually have some good players in place. Any team in the league would love to have young center Brook Lopez. Guard Devin Harris could run the point for most teams. Forward Yi Jianlian is only 22. And guard Courtney Lee started in the NBA Finals last June.

Still, I think the Nets will break the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers' record for futility and win fewer than nine games. Those Sixers were 4-39 through 43 games; these Nets are 3-40. New Jersey is playing as if it's given up, having allowed at least 106 points in six consecutive games. The Nets are fortunate that they play in the Eastern Conference, but they haven't shown they can beat even the NBA's dregs consistently.

New Jersey can only hope it runs into teams that are playing for lottery position — teams that, ahem, want a better chance at drafting University of Kentucky's John Wall.

josh.robbins@tribune.com.

Historically bad

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

What's not to like about the Nets' situation? They've got a new arena coming in Brooklyn, Jay-Z sitting courtside often, the best chances to land John Wall in the draft lottery and oodles of salary-cap space to chase free agents. Isn't all that a minor price to pay for the worst record in NBA history?

The question isn't if the Nets will, ahem, accomplish this. It's when. With two road trips of four and five games remaining, it's a lock. This team struggles to win intrasquad scrimmages in practice.

They're bad, soon to be historically bad.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

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