NBA Restart Preview: Nets/Knicks/Suns/Kings

By: Tyrone Montgomery Jr

Headline Graphic: Darrell Owens-LMS Network

Brooklyn Nets

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The Brooklyn Nets are depleted at the moment. Not only are they without their 2 Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they’re also without Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Nicolas Claxton, Wilson Chandler, Taurean Prince, and they even lost newcomer Michael Beasley who they recently signed as a replacement player. That’s 8 bodies! These guys aren’t just bodies either, they’re good quality players that contribute to wins. Let’s face the music here and address the elephant in the room. The Brooklyn Nets have absolutely no chance… 0% chance at winning the title this season. Too many injuries and players deciding not to play has hurt their chances. The good thing here is despite the challenges and situation the Nets are in, they still will be a lock to make the playoffs. Something significant will happen for the Nets and it all lies with a gentleman by the name of Caris Levert. It will be a miracle if the Nets win a single playoff game this year. But Sean Marks have some serious questions that will need answers in the next couple weeks. Do we keep Levert around or trade him for a 3rd star to pair with KD and Kyrie? That will probably be determined by his play in the NBA Bubble. Levert is extremely talented. The guy scored a career high 51 points this season with 37 in the 4th quarter alone vs. the Boston Celtics. But the only question is can he stay healthy? The next question that will be answered is “Is Jaque Vaughn the right guy for the job? He has coaching experience however he doesn’t have Championship Coaching Experience. Anytime you have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on your team, you’ll definitely be thinking Championships. Things won’t work out at all this season for the Nets. However, the Nets have a lot to look forward to next season and they could be representing the Eastern Conference in the Finals next season. Hello Brooklyn, how ya doing!!! 

New York Knicks

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Just when you think about giving up in life, a miracle and a blessing comes your way. Let’s be honest, the Knicks aren’t very good. Now when we’re talking about talent, we can make the argument because there are some talented players on the Knicks. But success comes from the top and makes it way to the bottom and the top starts and ends with Knicks Owner James Dolan. He hasn’t gotten the job done and many of us are surprised he hasn’t quit and given up and sold the team by now. Miracles and blessing are recieved by everyone. His miracle and blessing may be Leon Rose. Rose was hired as President of the Knicks back in May. He will be taking a lead role in changing the fortune of the Knicks. The Knicks aren’t included in the NBA Restart so they are already looking to the future. Their future includes Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibs has been a respected Coach his entire career. He expects 110% from his players and he’s familiar with winning. He has a long resume but the headlines are he is a former Coach of the Year, he coached in the Allstar Game, and he won a championship as an Ast. Coach with the Celtics in 2008. The Knicks finally have their guy! Now it’s time to get even more talent! The Knicks should have a Top 5 Pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Having that with the roster they already have should help them contend for 8th seed next season. But it all depends on how the Culture Change goes. Hiring Thibs was the right decision, and this may be the start of the beginning for the New York Knicks! 

Phoenix Suns

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The Suns made it to the Bubble to fight to live another day. Losing Oubre will be a huge loss. Kelly Oubre is one of the NBA’s most underrated players. He does it all on both sides of the floor. This Suns team may be one of the best rosters they’ve had in awhile. Ricky Rubio has really matured into his game and he’s even added a bit of range with his shot. He’s a solid veteran and the perfect PG to lead really every team in the league right now. Mikal Bridges is a good player off the bench for the Suns. But he may be forced into a much larger role with the absence of Oubre. That may be out of his comfort zone to step up every single game because Booker can’t do it on the wing on his own. The development of DeAndre Ayton will be the key to success for the Suns. The obstacle that stands in the way is time and patience. Devin Booker is a mega talent and star already and he wants to win now. The scary part is thinking it may be only a matter of time when he demands a trade. Hopefully the Suns will continue to improve because they’re definitely on the right track. They may be missing a piece or 2 but this team is on the come up. They won’t make the playoffs this season, but look for the Suns to be even better next year. 

Sacramento Kings

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If I told you the Kings last time in the playoffs were when the Seattle Supersonics were an NBA Franchise would you believe me? It’s been awhile for the Kings and the city of Sacramento may be living on a prayer at the moment. The Kings haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 where they loss in the 1st Round vs. the Spurs. That gives them the longest playoff drought in the league at the moment. Could their fortunes change this season? Well, it definitely won’t be easy but there’s hope. They’re currently tied for 9th place in a 3 way tie with the Blazers and Pelicans. The 8th seeded Grizzlies have a 3.5 lead and the fact that there will be a play in tournament for the 8th seed as long as they finish within 4 games of 8th place gives them hope. On the flip side it also gives the Blazers and Pelicans hope too. The Kings find themselves in a pickle. Injuries play a part here as they will be without Marvin Bagley lll once again as he suffered a foot injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season. There’s plenty of talent on this team. From De’Aaron Fox, the sharp shooting Buddy Hield, X-Factor Bogi, to the energy guy Richaun Holmes. But something is missing here and that’s a solid paint presence. We know how the old saying goes, “Availability is the best ability” and Marvin Bagley just isn’t very dependable. The Kings aren’t really well equipped to compete because there just isn’t enough depth or talent here. Not having a solid big man presence really poses as a hardship for this team because there’s virtually ZERO rim protection either. Look for the Kings to be in the lottery again this year. There’s still plenty of work that awaits GM Vlade Divac