Nets convinced return to full health biggest key to title hope

“Wait ’til next year” was the slogan of the previous Brooklyn Dodgers. Now their religious and sporting successors are fittingly echoing the identical chorus.

A Nets superteam constructed to win all of it simply bought bounced within the second spherical by the Bucks. But loads of sturdy squads undergo heartbreak the yr their core is assembled, solely to use that as gas for a championship run the following. Predictably, that would be the Nets’ mindset with their offseason beginning sooner than anticipated.

It has to be.

“Absolutely. That’s got to be our approach, is we were very close,” Steve Nash mentioned Monday. “[We faced] a variety of adversity, and if we are able to refine and enhance what we do, why can’t we take this with us, develop, study and be again with much more resolve, extra of an understanding of what it takes to win?

“That’s definitely the silver lining is what we can take from this, what we can add to our toolbox and to our collective mentality and culture. … Everyone here is fired up to get back to work and build this thing back up, and even stronger.”

Within the Nets’ locker room, there’s a agency perception that the only biggest a part of getting stronger is getting more healthy.

The gamers are convinced their second-round sequence would’ve gone otherwise if Kyrie Irving wasn’t sidelined by a sprained ankle and James Harden wasn’t slowed by a Grade 2 hamstring pressure.

That duo logged solely 202 minutes all common season alongside Kevin Durant, and 130 within the postseason. They had been a plus-64 within the playoffs, however accidents conspired to preserve them from being at their greatest.

“It’s tough; really tough. We were so close to advancing,” Nash mentioned. “It didn’t go our way this time. But we’ll take some of this with us, and it’ll make us stronger and we’ll approach that next season with this in our toolbox and it’ll grow our character and resolve.”

Yes, they had been tantalizingly shut in a sequence of what ifs.

The Nets might’ve been dealing with Atlanta within the Eastern Conference Finals if Joe Harris had hit only one extra 3-pointer in Games 3 or 7. Or if Durant’s toe hadn’t touched the road on his lengthy last-second 2 to ship Game 7 into OT, as a substitute of a 3 to ship them to the following spherical. He wears a measurement 17 shoe, however dons an 18 for video games.

That’s how shut. And the Nets realize it.

“It hurts. It should hurt,” GM Sean Marks mentioned. “But life moves on. Nobody’s feeling sorry for the Nets, and we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. That’s pro sports.”

Marks has to take the extra analytical hen’s-eye view. He has to be busy with the draft and free company, making an attempt to lengthen the contracts of the Big 3 and put the appropriate items round them with 9 free brokers on this roster.

Those selections are greatest made dispassionately, not within the warmth of the second. And after a Game 7 loss suffered with gut-wrenching accidents, the second continues to be extremely popular.

Still, Marks insists the early exit was extra a disappointment than a failure.

“I don’t look at it as failure. I think the term ‘failure’ can be used in a completely different array of circumstances far more serious than what we went through. Is it disappointment? Yes. Without a doubt,” Marks mentioned. “We’re going to personal it, we’re going to develop from it.

James Harden, Kevin Durant and in injured Kyrie Irving will have to wait until next year to try to win a title with the Nets.
James Harden, Kevin Durant and in injured Kyrie Irving could have to wait till subsequent yr to attempt to win a title with the Nets.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“We’ll be better because of this. We’ll progress through this and learn from the roller-coaster ride that was this season. But I don’t look at this as failure — we all grew as people, as individuals and as a unit. We’re definitely going to come out with the resolve and resiliency to attack next season and achieve our goals.”

It’ll solely be a failure in the event that they don’t study from it and construct on it.

Granted, their religious and sporting predecessors received 5 NL pennants from 1941 to ’53, however misplaced to the Yankees within the World Series all 5 occasions. They lastly broke by way of and beat the Bombers in 1955, nonetheless the borough’s solely title.

The Nets hope their targets don’t take that lengthy.

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