Nets Preview: Eagle on Most Improved Teams
This Saturday, the Nets will kick off their preseason against the Philadelphia 76ers, with the two meeting in the “Boardwalk Hall Kickoff Classic” in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Monday brings the team’s Brooklyn “debut” as they christen the Barclays Center against the Washington Wizards, and three weeks from today, on Thursday, November 1, the Nets will do it for real, kicking off the regular season against the now intra-city rival New York Knicks at the Barclays Center.
As training camp got underway, we sat down with the Nets’ broadcasting team – play-by-play man Ian Eagle, analyst Jim Spanarkel, and “The Czar” himself, Mike Fratello – to get their takes on the “new” Nets, the NBA at large, and what 2012-13 will bring around the league.
Over the next three weeks, check back every weekday as we reveal the trio’s thoughts on several subjects. Our series will culminate on “game day,” November 1, with a look at how each man thinks the Nets and Knicks match up man-to-man, but today, we kick things off with a snippet of our conversation with Ian Eagle, who revealed the three teams he thinks made the biggest improvement in the off-season…and No. 1 shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
No. 1: Brooklyn Nets
“On paper, the Nets have improved in every area, but you don’t win games on paper; you have to see how the chemistry develops. Still, to go from where they were…they’re relevant, they’re credible, and they’re legitimate, and they’re ready to make a big splash.”
No. 2: Philadelphia 76ers
“To make the move they made to acquire a franchise center in Andrew Bynum, that’s not easy to do. Last year, they were tinkering with Spencer Hawes as a starter, but ultimately they filled a need – and by acquiring Bynum and trading Andre Iguodala, they changed the identity of their team. The Sixers have the greatest chance of taking the next step, from a good team – a playoff team last year – to a conference-finalist type.”
No. 3: Los Angeles Lakers
“Knowing that Oklahoma City is only going to get better, the Lakers knew they had to do something drastic to keep up. Getting Dwight Howard and Steve Nash…that’s a major splash.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES