Nov 24, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Reggie Evans (30), small forward Paul Pierce (34), point guard Deron Williams (8), and power forward Kevin Garnett (2) watch the game from the bench in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. The Detroit Pistons won 109-97. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Tanking Rankings, Week Four: The Big (Mostly Bad) Brooklyn Nets

The Tanking Rankings are a summary of the NBA’s worst teams on a week-to-week basis, compiled by Kyle Neubeck and Spencer Layman. They will attempt to rank and write about the worst teams in basketball on a long and short-term basis. You can view their already obsolete preview here.

Kyle: Let it be known that this is the first week that Spencer and I have had the same exact rankings…not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Sadly, it appears as though our hometown Sixers have crept back into the picture. Before people get out the pitchforks and torches, take a closer look at the Sixers over their last 10 games: 3-7, with losses to Toronto and Cleveland highlighting their futility. The body of work is more important than the signature wins against teams like Houston, and stunning comebacks like the one against Milwaukee.

Speaking of which, we have to talk about this shot:

Degree of difficulty on that thing is at least a nine. Brett Brown has gotten a lot of (deserved) credit for his well-designed plays out of timeouts this season, but this was definitely a case of a someone just making a great play. We salute you, Spencer Hawes.

Anyway, I think you’re starting to see performance more indicative of what the Sixers actually are: a young, athletic team that isn’t very good yet. You see flashes in fits and starts, but most nights they’re going to struggle. Which is totally fine! This year isn’t about wins and losses, as we’ve said in the past, and I’m encouraged that MCW is as far along as he is this early. It’s a young, cheap team with plenty of flexibility.

On the flip side: the Brooklyn Nets, an extravagant team that came into the season with high expectations and looks like an absolute train wreck. For what it’s worth, choosing a recently-retired player with no coaching experience to run a team expecting to challenge for a title was probably a bad idea. That team is in shambles.

So how do they fix the world’s most expensive train wreck?

Spencer: HE’S HAWESOMATIC BABY! I think people should know that Spencer and I are basically brothers since we share the same first name. It’s only logical.

As for the Sixers, I’m happy with the way they are playing. I’m still on board with them losing as many games as possible this year because if they make the playoffs, their pick goes to Miami and they don’t need a top 15 talent in this stud of a draft class. ET and Hawes will get traded eventually. I’m still skeptical on Thad, but I think he is gone as well. He is not made for THIS team and I would hate to see him waste his good years on a tanking team.

The thing with the Nets is…well, they’re sort of like the Lakers from last year. Their projected starting lineup is all injured, and the problem is most of the guys that are injured have had the injuries for years now. Then you throw in PP and KG’s age and you really see why they haven’t played much this season.

Nov 20, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett (2) reacts during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 95-91. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

I was skeptical if this team could work mainly because of the ages of PP and KG. People were banking on them to be sort of like the backbone of this team, and I never bought in. KG and PP barely looked like NBA starters LAST season, I couldn’t even imagine them playing at a high level this year. The Celtics got a STEAL with what they took back.

I’m not really sure if there is a way to fix this other than getting guys back from injury. The only problem is when do those guys come back? When was the last time we saw a fully healthy Deron Williams or Brook Lopez or KG or PP? It’s been awhile. It seems like an easy fix, but no one can predict when those guys will be fully healthy. And even if they are fully healthy, has father time caught up with PP and KG enough to the point where they are basically useless? Perhaps. However, maybe the Nets are just coasting right now because they don’t want to exert all their energry in the first couple months of the season to preserve it for the playoffs. I still think this team can make the playoffs, but I could be wrong.

You think the Kings will trade DMC to the Sixers yet? :)

Kyle: I think the decline of Pierce and Garnett was at least prepared for, but I don’t know what to make of Deron Williams. Second straight year where he has struggled out of the gates, and these ankle injuries keep piling up. The only thing exciting about this team right now is the possibility of Prokhorov going nuclear and firing/trading everyone. We need more eccentric Russian billionaires as owners. You’re telling me the Renegade Russian isn’t more fun than penny-pinching Robert Sarver?!

As far as Boogie goes, give up the dream. The Kings are looking to bring talent in, not ship it out. There have been rumors floated by Marc Stein of ESPN that they are close to a Mbah a Moute for Derrick Williams swap (editor’s note: this trade has since been completed). It’s not necessarily a fit, but it’s never a bad idea to buy low on a young talent.

Nov 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes (00) passes the ball to guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Bucks 115-107 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been so conflicted by the continued excellence (can’t believe I’m writing that) of Spencer Hawes, because he has kept them in games (which is bad) and has inflated his trade value (which is good). Rich Hoffman of Liberty Ballers suggested a deal with a team like the Clippers involving Hawes, and I have to say I’m in love with that idea. Crunch-time lineup of CP3-Redick-Dudley-Blake-Hawes? That’s an offensive juggernaut. Not sure they can guard anyone, but don’t kill my buzz.

Let’s go outside the rankings for a minute and discuss one of the week’s big storylines: Kobe’s extension! I almost fell out of my chair when I read how much they’re going to pay him. This seems like a classic Jim Buss/Tommy Boy move. “Hey, before our aging centerpiece comes back from a devastating injury that few athletes ever recover from, let’s extend him for an insane amount of money and kill any chance we have of bringing in a secondary star!” I know you are a Lake-show fan in some capacity – what’s going through your mind right now?

Spencer: I just want to say that the only time Deron Williams has looked good was under Sloan. I’m not a huge believer in systematic players, but when it comes to Jerry Sloan players, I’m more skeptical of how much it has to do with his system than the players talents. I’ll leave it at that.

I still don’t understand that trade. It makes no sense to me. It seems as if they are just giving up on him, which is totally fine, but get something more than LUC RICHARD MBAH A MOUTE! Someone on twitter tried pointing out that they need help at wing. I’m pretty sure Zach Harper pointed out that they are rated 7th in the league for defense. I haven’t seen the Wolves play but 3 or 4 times this year, but there is no way that LRMAM is really going to help that much.

I don’t like the Clippers. I don’t like Doc. I don’t like Dudley. I just don’t like them. However, I will agree with you on that they would be an offensive juggernaut, but they already are. They need help at the defensive end, and even though Spencer is playing well this year, I don’t know if his defense will last all season long. I’m not really sure how Spence would even get to the Clippers, I don’t think the money is there. A third team would probably have to get involved.

Ok, so I am a Lakers fan.. People were going to find out eventually. Sixers are always my first team, no matter what. Kobe and Shaq were childhood favorites of mine (behind Allen, of course) and I still root for the Lakers. This has me torn. Since it was an extension, he couldn’t just take a 15 million dollar paycut like most wanted him to. There is only a certain percentage that he could cut from this years salary. So that’s issue number one out of the way.

He wasn’t allowed to go into free agency like other older aging superstars did, so his contract is going to be large. I was hoping the Lakers would have gotten him for less, but the Lakers apparently handed him this without even negotiating. People are mad at Kobe for taking this, but they should be pissed at the owner/GM for offering it to him BEFORE HE EVEN PLAYED A MINUTE AFTER TEARING HIS ACHILLES! Sorry, just got a little outraged when I saw all this happen.

I love Kobe, I love the Lakers. But this could have waited. The only thing I could see it potentially doing is saying “Hey, top tier free agents, we signed our guy because we value loyalty. We’ll take care of you as long as you do your job.” But even then.. I’m still at a loss for words about this. The Lakers can still sign a max free agent, but do you see LeBron or Melo leaving? Melo, maybe.

Nov 26, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant speaks with the media prior to the Lakers

I’m still not sold on Bron and the Lakers thing. I think this is a master plan of getting Love and Durant in 2016 when Kobe is finally retired. But that’s just speculation, I have no inside details or nothing.

Ok, let’s move away from that. This goes back to trade rumors and stuff for the Sixers. These are the guys I would love to see the Sixers get if they made a trade (not all of them, just throwing out a few names.)

  • Ray McCallum SAC
  • Gorgui Dieng MIN
  • Ricky Ledo DAL
  • Jae Crowder DAL
  • Terrence Jones HOU (Won’t happen now because of his emergence, why I wanted him before the season)
  • Iman Shumpert NYK
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (?) MIL
  • Jamaal Franklin and Ed Davis MEM
  • Nemanja Nedovic (GSW)
  • Reggie Bullock LAC

If the Sixers could some of those guys for Spencer, Evan and Thad I would be living well.

Kyle: The Spencer to Clippers move would absolutely have to be supplemented by a third party – perhaps someone like Chicago – and whether his defense is sustainable isn’t a concern to us. I just want assets.

Of the assets you listed, the Greek Freak and Shumpert would definitely be prime targets, but I don’t think Milwaukee is giving up an 18-year-old athletic freak. Shumpert is a more interesting case, because he’s clearly being shopped, but I have to wonder what the cost would be.

In more pertinent Sixers trade news, Sam Amico is reporting that Cleveland has interest in Evan Turner, and there’s speculation around the league that they’re willing to offload young talent in exchange for his services. I’ve heard Tristian Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett’s names pop up around the internet, and that’s a sign that Turner is garnering legimate interest from teams around the league. I have confidence that Hinkie will make the right move. Feels weird to have total faith in the Sixers front office.

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I’m thinking we need to give out some kind of award, much like they do during the annual NFL games. Who’s the biggest turkey so far this season?

My vote goes to the aforementioned Deron Williams. Remember when Deron Williams vs. Chris Paul was a thing? For the record, I have always been Team CP3, but those arguments look extra hilarious in retrospect. Chris Paul is playing MVP-caliber basketball while his counterpart is the alpha dog for the league’s biggest shit-show. No contest.

April 17, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins coaches against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Philadelphia defeats Indiana 105-95. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Spencer: Just because I want to throw him into the fire one last time, I will say my NBA biggest turkey is Doug Collins. GET ROASTED DOUG!

Kyle: Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tanking Rankings, Week Four

  1. Utah Jazz

  2. Milwaukee Bucks

  3. Sacramento Kings

  4. Brooklyn Nets

  5. Cleveland Cavaliers

  6. New York Knicks

  7. Orlando Magic

  8. Boston Celtics

  9. Philadelphia 76ers

For more from the guys who watch the bad basketball it takes to put this thing together, find them on Twitter @Neubeck_NBA and @NBA_Spen respectively. 

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Tags: Boston Celtics Brooklyn Nets Cleveland Cavaliers Kobe Bryant Milwaukee Bucks New York Knicks Orlando Magic Philadelphia 76ers Sacramento Kings Utah Jazz

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