Trade Kevin Garnett to Minnesota in Exchange for Thaddeus Young; Right Now Holding on to 8th Playoff Spot
In their last 10-games, the Brooklyn Nets are 5-5, holding on to the last spot in the Eastern Conference standings, with the 8th seed.
As far as February 27th, 2015, is concerned, the Nets are 23-32, in a 4-team race for the 8th spot, alongside: The Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, and the Boston Celtics.
If the Nets are to contend in the Eastern Conference, let alone make the playoffs, the roster as it stands, has to make some sort of improvement right?
Last week, at the NBA trade deadline, the Nets made a move towards securing a playoff spot.
That meant sending future Hall-Of-Famer, Kevin Garnett back to the place where it all began: the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 1-for-1 swap for Thaddeus Young.
Thaddeus Young, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves on his way to the Brooklyn Nets
With Garnett's days numbered as a pro, you would think that he would want to go to a contender with the hopes of one last title-run, but instead, waived his no-trade clause to return to the team that traded him away 8-years ago.
"I did not know the city missed me like this," Garnett told NBA.com.
"I don't think you can ever wish or ever think the city loves you like this. But to see it is reality and I'm very appreciative."
And why wouldn't they.
Garnett was the player that the Wolves drafted out of Farragut Career Academy (Chicago Illinois), in 1995, who immediately gave the north-western team a reason to rejoice.
Under the watch of Head Coach Flip Saunders, Garnett became a perennial All-Star (12 selections with Minnesota, 15 career selections), an MVP and helped lead the Wolves to the Western Conference Finals in 02, against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Unfortunately the Wolves lost that series, 4-2 and following the disappointment of the playoffs and a couple of down years, Garnett wanted out of Minnesota, looking for opportunities to win elsewhere.
He became a champion in 2008 with the Boston Celtics, and that experience along with his impeccable resume as one of the NBA's greatest players, is something the Timberwolves wanted to influence their young core and mentor them until he decides to call it a career.
"With the opportunity of coming here and helping young guys in this transition of being better and bettering this team for the city, I saw this as a great opportunity for me, so I'm just happy to be here," said Garnett to Timberwolves media, nba.com
The Timberwolves feature a core of five young and talented players all under the age of 25 in, last-year's no.1 overall pick in Andrew Wiggins, 2015 Slam Dunk Champ Zack LaVine, Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad, and Glenn Robinson.
Garnett, who also has the aspirations of owning the Timberwolves one day is in the perfect spot to end his career and in the meantime aid the growth spurt of a young-core expected to turn a franchise around like he once did, 17 years ago.
For Brooklyn, unlike Garnett who is playing mentor and instructor for a team hoping for a better tomorrow, Young was acquired to help today.
It almost seems like Young has been in the league for a decade, but the former McDonalds All-American and Georgia Tech alum is in his 8th NBA season, still young, no pun intended, at 26 years-of-age.
With the exception of Philly where he spent the first seven years of his career, Young is suiting up for his third-team in two-years, now with a realistic chance of actually playing for something.
A day after the trade, Young scored eight points and helped the Nets defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in his first game with the team.
"He didn't play extended minutes. But for not knowing any of the plays and not having a shoot-around or a meeting with us, I thought he played really well," Deron Williams told NBA.com following the game.
Brooklyn Nets point guard, Deron Williams
"He looked good for us and he's going to be great for us as he gets more acclimated to the team."
Joe Johnson also seems to be a fan.
"I think he's going to be great," said Johnson about Young to NBA.com. "He just has to get familiar with the system, but he's definitely the kind of player that fits our mode. So he's definitely going to help us."
Brooklyn Nets shooting guard, Joe Johnson
Young's career 13.8 points per game is something the Nets can either exploit as a reserve or as a starter.
And in talking about new weapons for the Nets, rookie Markel Brown has also surfaced recently.
The periodically used guard, buried onto the bench due to the depth chart, recalled from Maine Red Claws of the D-League alongside fellow rookie Cory Jefferson, has played in the Nets last three games (Lakers, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans) contributing on both ends of the floor, scoring a career-high 10 points against the Nuggets on Monday.
Even Williams is getting into the act, showing flashes of his All-Star self, when healthy, producing a double-double against the Lakers, last week in 12 points and 15 assists.
Yet and still, the Nets are still nine games under .500 at 23-32, entering a tough three-game stretch in which they will visit the Houston Rockets tonight, meet Houston's neighbor in the Dallas Mavericks and their new weapon in Amar'e Stoudemire and then host the Golden State Warriors on Monday, to begin the month of March.
No one ever said it would be easy, but the Nets did this to themselves.
Last month on January 2nd, the Nets were 16-16.
As soon as February 1st, the Nets were 19-28, due to a seven-game losing streak in January where the Nets lost to potential lottery teams in Boston, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
For a team that currently has the only hope of the city, they have to be better than that.
The acquisition of Young for Garnett, Deron Williams’ recent play, and featuring young players like Brown may be the recipe for the Brooklyn Nets to finish big.
There are only two months left in the season, and it is time for the Nets to make their push for a playoff spot, now.
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