Ready or Not, Here Come the New Nets

They've got a new arena, a new owner and a shot at the first pick

Tuesday night's draft lottery could be to the Nets what the 1985 lottery was to the Knicks. When David Stern pulled out an envelope giving Patrick Ewing to the Knicks, it set off a franchise revival that culminated in a pair of trips to the NBA finals, countless memorable nights at Madison Square Garden and an era that every Knicks fan would give their left pinky to get back.

John Wall isn't quite the prospect that Ewing was but his arrival would be a watershed moment all the same. The Nets are on the cusp of big things thanks to the long-awaited start of construction in Brooklyn and the arrival of Mikhail Prokhorov. Getting Wall would jumpstart the process of returning to the playoffs and put the team in a position to move to the city with a loaded roster bent on big things in the future.

That's what Prokhorov is promising in a video address to Nets fans in advance of the ping pong balls. It's a pretty compelling piece of video and not something you could see James Dolan doing for Knicks fans eager to hear some good news about the years to come.

The excitement is with the Nets, ladies and gentlemen, even if Prokhorov sells excitement about as well as your hardware store sells lead-based paint.

If they do get Wall, there could be even more good news. The much rumored John Calipari/LeBron James package deal has thus far focused on the Bulls, but the Nets need a coach just as bad as the Nets do. Wall played for Cal in college, of course, and the prospect of joining a team with a stud point guard, a strong big man in Brook Lopez and the return in a trade for Devin Harris could be pretty appealing for James if winning a title is his greatest desire.

It would mean playing in Newark for a couple of years, but that might not be such a bad deal when you're coming from Cleveland and joining up with a man well positioned to help you conquer the globe. Throw in close buddy Jay-Z's involvement with the team and it is at least something worth talking about.

Maybe that's all a little farfetched, but it's a nice change of pace from wondering how the words of Isiah Thomas and Eddy Curry might impact the Knicks' pursuit of the King. The best part of it for the Nets is that, unlike the Knicks, all hope isn't lost if James goes elsewhere. Whatever happens tonight, the Nets will be adding another strong young player to a decent mix that should only keep improving with Prokhorov pulling the strings for the organization.

These are heady times for a franchise that hasn't had many of them.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.

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