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Essay: What Are The Brooklyn Nets?

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Editor’s Note: This article is Jun Pang’s first for Shaky Ankles. 

This summer held the most exciting NBA offseason since 2010, and one of the biggest changes took place in Brooklyn, where the Nets arrived with a completely revamped roster. Gone is 73% of the 22-44 2011-12 New Jersey Nets, with only Deron Williams, Keith Bogans, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, and Kris Humphries remaining. New additions include Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche.

The Nets have a lot of new strengths and weaknesses, and coach Avery Johnson seems like he’ll finally have some talent that can work the system he wants to install. The Nets are as enigmatic as any team in the league, with a ceiling that could reach the Eastern Conference Finals and a basement that ends with a first-round exit. They should definitely be on your “teams to watch” list next year. Read more…

Shook Ankles: Paul Pierce Embarrasses The Newest Kardashian

At first notice of this brutal behind the back shimmy throw down, I kicked myself for not putting it up a few weeks ago; back when Kris’ proposal to Kim was timely news. But then I googled her name and realized Kim Kardashian is pretty much synonymous with “timely news” thanks to the internet and its parasitic turn for the worse.

Anyway, this vicious Paul Pierce deke on Sasha Vujacic—thanks to his miraculous association with Katie Cassidy and Maria Sharapova, another one for tabloid fodder, although slightly less useful on a basketball court than Kim—is almost retro in its elegance. For all the talk of Boston’s guaranteed Hall of Famers being in the creaky stage of their careers, Pierce was the one guy who looked like he was pushing himself into some sort different level. It was like his game, one filled with hesitation dribbles and a shot selection that’s able to control the game’s pace, was made for a 33-year-old. He could depend on the three point line more and avoid criticism thanks to his age. It made sense.

Last season Pierce picked his spots like my mom going up and down different aisles at Whole Foods. Should I demand the ball and take these next five minutes over or sit back and watch Ray run off a few screens? Do we want Fruity Pebbles or Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries? After Marquis Daniels suffered his neck injury Pierce’s fatigue factor was the team’s largest concern, and the main reason Danny Ainge felt grabbing Jeff Green was imperative. Not Kendrick Perkins’ health or pending free agency but Paul Pierce’s ability to average 40 minutes a game between 16 and 28 grueling playoff games. After watching Miami run through the postseason with defense as their registered trademark, I stand by the deal; Perkins at 60 percent wouldn’t have cured their ails (although if he weren’t dealt there’s a good chance Boston has home court in the second round, but that argument’s for another day).

Excluding his foot injury, which occurred during Game 1 in the Miami series, from conversation, could Paul have gone through these playoffs flexing his muscles, well rested as a man who seems to be treating the final juncture of his wonderful career like an overseas pen pal he knew he’d meet someday? We’ll never know. What we do know is moves like the one you see above aren’t commonly made by guys in their 30s. It’s a sign that this Boston Celtics era isn’t quite finished. And neither is Paul Pierce.

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