How the Brooklyn Nets hit the reset button that helped shape their future

Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The offseason was a pretty good one for the Brooklyn Nets, but that wasn’t the first step made to put together a winning culture successfully.

The Brooklyn Nets are coming off a remarkable 2019 year. They continued to improve over the years and found themselves in the playoffs last season, which had been the first time in four years. After a terrible trade made in 2014 and no championship to show for one of the most puzzling moves in NBA history had haunted the Nets organization up until recently. The Nets signed three All-Stars this offseason in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan. They are putting together a group that’ll be contenders in the up and coming years.

There was a point in the past decade where the Brooklyn Nets had to restructure who they had making team management decisions. After moving to Brooklyn in 2012, the Nets have made the playoffs just four times since the move and went through a stretch, where the team found themselves with no direction. After the reassignment of Billy King and having to go through five coaches. The Nets found themselves a good GM in Sean Marks and a good coach in Kenny Atkinson in 2016. That is where things began to change for the Nets.

In 2014, Billy King might’ve have made one of the worst trades in NBA history. The Nets had come off a first-round exit to the Chicago Bulls and, during the draft, pulled what was called a Blockbuster Trade, as they acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, and D.J White. In exchange, the Boston Celtics received five players and four future first-round picks. Those picks turned out to be 17th overall in 2014, 3rd in 2016, 1st overall in 2017, but was swapped for 3rd overall pick in 2017. In 2018, the 8th overall pick would end up being rights to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Which meant the Nets didn’t draft in the lottery the years the Nets would go on to struggle.

For a while, it looked as if the Nets would remain to suffer from the trade that was supposed to be a win-now plan. It even looked for most of the time that the Nets would be rebuilding with no lottery drafts picks. They hit the reset and hired Sean Marks, and he began to change things that would turn the heads of many eventually.

In 2016, Sean Marks traded veteran Thaddeus Young to Indiana to acquire the rights to the 20th pick in the draft in which they would take Caris LeVert from Michigan. Other GM’s passed on LeVert because they feared he had injuries before coming into the draft, Sean Marks was willing to take the risk. Then in 2017, Nets selected Center Jarrett Allen with the 22nd pick in the draft.

The Nets selected guys who fit the culture through the draft. Then would continue to develop players and find some hidden gems through their rebuild. Guys like Spencer Dinwiddie, who had been playing on his third team in three years, saw action in 2016 and secured his self a roster spot on the Nets. Another guy like Joe Harris got a chance to prove himself during 2016 with the Brooklyn squad, and as the years went on, the Nets continue to develop guys. In 2017 they made a trade to acquire D’Angelo Russell, who at the time was known as a bad locker room guy, and he came in developed as a young player and most recently got rewarded for his play during his time with the Nets.

The key for the Nets was that they developed a culture and brought in guys that fit the team’s style of play along with the coaching staff. The Nets stuck with a strategy and plan that worked for them. When a guy like Kevin Durant became a free agent, he wanted to come to Brooklyn because of what the organization had to offer.

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The team is no longer a rebuilding team anymore; this is a team that will compete for years to come, and all praises and thanks should go to the Nets player development, coaching staff, and, of course, Sean Marks.