Billy King could have turned things around with the Brooklyn Nets, if only he was given more time. Well, that’s at least the opinion of King, who said as much in his first interview since being fired (via Nets Daily):
“I know some of the mistakes that were made here and I, I thought I could have turned it around but ownership … that’s their prerogative, [but] you still spent time trying to figure out what’s next.”
The problem is that King deserves much of the blame for the current predicament that the Nets are in.
Of course, the ultimate embarrassment of King’s tenure with the Nets was this last season. Brooklyn went 21-61 and had all the signs of a tanking team, hoping simply to get a franchise player with a top draft pick.
That wouldn’t be so bad, if only Brooklyn’s first-round pick didn’t belong to the Boston Celtics.
To be fair, the loss of this year’s first-round pick did help the Nets earn their greatest achievement under King’s watch. Who could forget the seasons that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce had in 2014 as their veteran leadership helped guide the Nets through the playoffs? Unfortunately, said trip to the playoffs ended with a 4-1 loss to Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat in the second round.
Brooklyn did make the playoffs from 2013-2015, and I guess, King deserves some credit for that. The problem is that despite playing in what was almost universally considered the weaker conference, the Nets never earned any better than the fourth seed. They also never won more than 49 games under King’s watch.
We could go over the whole messy tenure of wasted draft picks and bad trades, but the greatest hits album would feature the decisions to trade young players and draft picks for players like Garnett, Pierce and Deron Williams. Really, we don’t need much more than that. These decisions clearly mortgaged the future with the one goal of winning now.
That never happened.
If a team is going to make that many moves to win immediately, then it really only pays off if it wins immediately. That doesn’t mean a few trips to the playoffs and one trip to the second round.
Instead, for those moves to be worthwhile, the Nets would have had to won at least one championship.
Not only did that never happen, but it didn’t come terribly close to happening. Brooklyn was never a hard luck loser that could look back and realistically wonder if it could have won a championship if only one thing had or had not happened.
Under King, the Nets present was never desirable and the future was non-existent. Nothing that happened under King’s watch indicated that he could possibly be the guy to come in, right the ship, and turn things around.
The Nets were wrong to fire King when they did. It should have happened much sooner. He doesn’t need to acknowledge that, but comments like this are way out of bounds and simply could not be further from the truth.