Vince Carter, Nets Believe They Can Win 2007 Title
Long-time readers of SLAM magazine will remember a particular cover caption which later came to be a source of embarrassment, reading, if memory serves, “New Jersey Nets Champs by 2001? Count on it.” It was with the collapse of the pre-millennium Nets in mind, then, that I read today’s report that New Jersey believe they can win the NBA title in 2007.
“I think we can win. If the bench gets stronger, that definitely helps,” said Jason Kidd, who on breakup day last year was ticked about being asked to play GM, but this year gave some thoughts. “The league is getting tighter, becoming compressed. If you look at the top 10 or top five, it could go either way.”
Ason’s title aspirations may be a little hopeful, but he makes a good point nonetheless. Having seen how the big boys have struggled in these playoffs, it’s clear there’s a greater degree of parity among the league’s upper echelon than we’ve seen in a while. Midseason title favourites Detroit and close runners-up San Antonio should have had an easy path to the finals, but both have found themselves trailing at points in the postseason.
They may not be my team, but I’d love nothing more than to see the Nets win it all next year for the simple fact that it would be the most entertaining championship team since Shaq’s Lakers. There’s a lot to be said for the tactics of attrition that have helped the Spurs and Pistons win rings recently, but you have to admit that the Nets’ fastbreaking style of play is a little easier on the eyes. Still, the thought of New Jersey winning a title is much like Steve Nash playing defence: there’s no guarantee it won’t go down at some point in the future, but I just can’t imagine it happening.