With the season just 8 days away, here are a few predictions for the season:
Team Record – The Nets have struggled over the last three seasons no more than 24 wins in any of those seasons. With an impressive off season, a new building and an energized fan base, basketball fans will be looking for the team's win total to increase. Expect at least 44 wins for the Nets this year, doubling their win total from last year's shortened season.
Playoff Results – While the Nets haven't made the playoffs since the 2006-07 season, we expect that streak to come to an end. Even if the Nets fall 3 games short of our prediction of 44 wins, they would still have a .500 record which has been good enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference in every full season since 2004-05. Making the playoffs would be a tremendous achievement from where this team was at the end of last year. That's where the feel good story of this season ends for the Nets. A first round exit versus one of the Eastern Conference powers is our call.
Team MVP – Deron Williams – No debate necessary on this one. Beyond being the Nets clear MVP, don't be surprised if D-Will winds up in the conversation for the league's MVP. Playing in Brooklyn will generate more buzz than ever for Deron. Paired with Joe Johnson, he should live up to the hype. Williams will have his best NBA season yet which is saying a lot for a 3 time All Star.
All-Brooklyn Award – This is a new award I will be giving to the guy who embodies the attitude and grit of Brooklyn, lifts his team up and is beloved by Nets fans – basically this award goes to this team's Paul O'Neill. We expect (and hope) this award will go to Brook Lopez, the #10 pick in the 2008 draft. Lopez has taken heat at times for his defense and rebounding despite being a 7 footer. If he absorbs the toughness of his new hometown and translate it to his game, it will be huge for the Nets.
Attendance – The biggest question mark around the Barclays Center might be attendance. With great turnouts for their preseason games and opening night tickets for the game versus the Knicks going for $800, we don't expect turnout to be an issue for the first couple of months of the season. But what happens after the newness wears off? Will fans still be coming out every night in March and April if the team struggles? We think that Brooklynites will be packing “The Barc” throughout the season. Attendance numbers for the 41 games should exceed 95% - or nearly 700,000 fans attending Nets games this season.