HotelVitale wrote: No disrespect to this year's Nets' team, but there's a lot of danger in the logic of 'the team won 40-some games so adding Y talent means 50-some wins.' Every year we see that a team with okay talent can claw their way to around .500 by being scrappy, well-coached, and hungry. Those type of teams can beat weaker teams and sometimes steal games against better ones, but it's a hard road from there to being a team that can genuinely challenge any team and make some noise in the PO. Last year Nets are actually a good example. I just glanced at the Nets' wins this year and about 11 of their 42 wins came against the top half of the league and the rest came against the likes of the Hawks and Cavs and Hornets etc. They had some nice wins in there (TOR, MIL, DEN, etc) but they lost like 23-25 games to those better teams; to get to 50 wins you have to start being able to play .500 ball against the top half of the league, and that's a bigger hump than just adding a little more talent. Those scrappy teams also tend to be ensembles that spread spread out for their surprise success. For example, Ed Davis and Dinwiddie were top-5 on the team in win shares (Davis was #2), and even meh guys like Napier, Dudley, and Demarre Carroll were all positive contributors who outplayed their opponents (they have surprisingly good advanced stats and at least a couple win shares each). Same thing with last year's surprisingly good Lakers, or this year's surprisingly good Kings. But if Tobias Harris and Kyrie come, all of those guys have to be gone for salary reasons. I know it doesn't look like much to lose Davis and Carroll and Dudley, but it's just like the Lakers losing Randle and B Lopez and Nance--they're not great players but they were all parts of the team being able to beat bad teams consistently and challenge other teams when they were clicking. Losing them wipes half the team's win shares away, and also threatens that chemistry that allowed the team to surprise.
It's kind of both. The Nets did scrap their way to 42 wins...and yes Dudley Carroll and Davis are FA. I think Davis will be back. Carroll has his replacement already in Prince. So yeah they won a bunch of close games. But they also lost a bunch of close games. And keep in mind that the Nets played 3 months without Levert and 1 month without Dinwiddie. So you add those healthy two players, add a Kyrie to the mix, the internal growth of 20 yr olds in Allen, Kurucs, and Musa. It would be disappointing if that team doesn't hit 50 wins.
I get you but that's a little off from the point I was after. I think the Nets with Kyrie and some other FAs would be improved and could easily hit 50 wins, I just don't think we should think of the situation as 'they're already a playoff team, so adding an all star elevates them instantly one level, and adding another elevates them two.' We always make that mistake, and here's short versions of why we shouldn't:
--the point wasn't that the Nets won close games, it's that they mostly beat bad teams and only won like 30% of games vs the top half of the league; that's a good sign, but it ultimately only shows that your players can play league-average basketball if they're playing hard and executing well; to go from there to becoming one of the best 8-10 or so teams is a big big leap, more than winning a few more games usually looks like.
--Davis and probably Dinwiddie have to be gone if the team signs Kyrie and another max-ish guy, unless they're dropping Russell, and the other FAs will all have to be renounced.
--Teams that outperform their talent level tend to do so because the whole team is clicking together, and it's a shared effort; losing Carroll, Dudley, Davis, etc seems like it's whatever--those guys don't move the needle etc--but those guys together actually contributed as much as the couple of stars to the Nets surprising everyone. Replace them with random minimum players and scraps and it's very unlikely to be as good.
--The competition for talent that's better than league average is extremely tense; to go from a guy like Carroll who's okay to someone who's good-not-great at his position is very very hard to do, since the contenders and all-in teams are desperate for them; take a guy like Tobias Harris or Middleton--just an above average starter but teams are lining up to pay them maxes. The Nets got lucky this year in having a bunch of no names play average ball and having a handful of lesser stars take a step past that; but to field a roster that's not just average but in that top-10 is so tough, and the competition for guys that can help do that is fierce