Let’s get straight into this, the 2018-2019 NBA season has been a roller coaster of emotions. From witnessing the rise of Caris LeVert, D’Angelo Russell and the rest of the Nets team in the regular season to a somewhat disappointing end of their journey in the NBA playoffs, this ragtag group of Brooklyn heroes defied the odds and expectations (and the bets in Las Vegas) to return to the post-season after YEARS of wallowing in the regular season with no draft pick selections to help them rebuild.
Caris LeVert suffered a gruesome leg injury and initially looked rusty in his return, but he peaked at the right time when the post-season came around (call him Post LeVert).
D’Angelo Russell cemented himself as a franchise player by being the leader Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson, DeMarre Carroll, and others (including Magic Johnson) they wanted him to be. He became Brooklyn’s first All-Star since Joe Johnson but unfortunately, he’s a restricted free agent alongside Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Jarrett Allen solidified himself as the future of the Nets center position by improving all around in his sophomore year (thank you Ed Davis), especially on the defensive end with his wicked blocks on known superstars like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis to name a few.
Joe Harrs became the King of of 3PT shooting when he won the 3PT contest at the All-Star break and ended the season averaging 47.4% in the 3PT line.
Rodions Kurucs was a big but pleasant surprise when he started for the team and got consistent minutes. His raw energy, feel for the game and athleticism made him a good fit with the starting and bench lineups whenever he played.
Ed Davis was a rebounding machine for the Brooklyn Bench Mob and the perfect mentor for the young Afro wielding, human highlight blocking machine Jarrett Allen.
The entire team stepped up when everyone else was counting them out when everyone said they should tank for Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Ja Morant etc. They were predicted to land in the lottery, to have another losing record and missing out on the playoffs. Look at them now, they rallied from Caris’ leg injury and that horrible 8-18 record early in the season to lose to an admittedly stack team called the 76ers in the Post Season.
This season was not a failure, this was the stepping stone to something more, it was TIME for them to be hungry and keep their dog-like mentality.
REALITY was the Nets were much more than just another rebuilding team.
They had the MINDset to succeed, to keep going and defy expectations.
All the Nets needed was the SPACE for them to breathe, keep calm and to rally.
Brooklyn had the POWER to bring themselves back into the postseason (even if they had a 5-15% chance of actually winning the series).
The team had SOUL, and any fanbase would be proud of their team having soul.
Needless to say: The Markinson era did their work and so did the fanbase, the coaching staff, and the players.
There a lot of questions that need to be answered, and those answers will be given when the time is right. Is D-Lo really worth the max after one (great) season? Is RHJ worth bringing back even though he’s not a good fit within Kenny Atkinson’s system? Who will the Nets draft? Will they trade their picks? Will the team finally bring a big-time free agent to help them win more games and get back to the promised land? WHY IS GAMORA oh wait – wrong question.
At the end of the day, we Nets fans have a lot to be worried and thankful for. The team got back into the playoffs, D’Angelo Russell became an All-Star and a Most Improved candidate, Caris LeVert bounced back and so much more. Whatever negatives we had this season, the positives definitely outweighed them.
This is not the Endgame for the Brooklyn Nets.
This is just Phase 2.
Featured Image: Nathaniel S. Butler/ Getty Images