Posted: September 9, 2013
Continuing our game-by-game preview of the PHILA BIG Game Plan, we turn our attention to the Sixers’ first home meeting with the new-look Brooklyn Nets, which takes the #3 spot on our list.
When Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the Nets in 2010, he declared that they would win a championship within his first five seasons as owner. Since then, the Nets have undergone a drastic transformation, both on and off the court. Just one player (Brook Lopez) remains from the roster Prokhorov inherited, and the team has since been rebranded and relocated to the swanky Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Nets now boast a battle-tested roster, and Prokhorov’s promise, which was rejected by many as mere bravado when he made it on the heels of a 12-70 season three years ago, now appears to have legs.
Nets’ Key Offseason Moves
Brooklyn parted ways with 2012-13 interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo after dropping an opening-round series to the Chicago Bulls in seven games. The team then shocked the basketball world when they hired legendary point guard Jason Kidd, who had retired as a player just 10 days prior, to fill the vacancy. But that was just the beginning of team’s offseason transformation.
The Nets brokered a deal with the division-rival Celtics on draft night that brought forwards Paul Pierce and D.J. White, big man Kevin Garnett, and guard Jason Terry to Brooklyn and sent forwards Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Kris Joseph, guards Keith Bogans, and MarShon Brooks, three future first round draft picks, and the option to swap first-rounders in 2017 to Boston.
Brooklyn’s starting five is now comprised of guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, forwards Pierce and Garnett, and center Brook Lopez. Their bench is equally formidable, featuring 2009 Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry, recently signed defensive stalwart Andrei Kirilenko, rebounding specialist Reggie Evans, and 2013 Most Improved Player candidate Andray Blatche, not to mention Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston.
The team also added center Mason Plumlee with the 22nd pick in the 2013 Draft.
• The Brooklyn Nets feature one of the league’s oldest rosters, with players averaging 28.4 years of age (their projected starters average 31.6 years of age). The Sixers, on the other hand, are one of the league’s youngest teams, averaging just 24.0 years of age.
• Featuring Deron Williams and Joe Johnson at the guard positions, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Andrei Kirilenko at forward, Brook Lopez at center, and Jason Kidd behind the clipboard, the Nets have a combined 46 All-Star appearances between the members of their roster/coaching staff.
• The Sixers hold a 101-71 all-time series lead over the Nets, dating back to the teams’ first meeting on October 30, 1976.
• This game is the second of a home-and-home series between the Sixers and Nets that begins in Brooklyn on Monday, December 16.