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Prokhorov taking a backseat to Marks is the best thing that ever happened to the Nets

Remember Mikhail Prokhorov's championship promise? When he took over as majority owner of the Nets back in 2010 he said he expected the team to make the playoffs the following season and win a Larry O'Brien trophy within five years at the most.

Below is an excerpt from his speech to Nets fans and season ticketholders:

"If everything goes as planned, I expect to be in the playoffs next season...and championship in one year minimum and maximum in five years...

"The excitement is with the Nets. We will have a desire to win that is unmatched anywhere in the league. This will be a first class organization with all the support it needs...

"This will be the first truly global team in the NBA with exceptional international exposure no other team can reach, and there will be fans of the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn to Moscow...

“I can convince the very best of the best that the Nets are the place they want to be."

Five years came and went without the Nets coming anywhere near achieving a championship squad. In fact, the trade for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry backfired in the worst way as the organization mortgaged its future on a longshot for three aging stars to lead them to a title. That didn't happen, and instead the Nets became the laughing stock of the league.

Three years out of the playoffs before Sean Marks and company turned things around last season and won 42 games to reach the sixth seed in the East before being ousted by the Sixers in five games.

Prokhorov's pride was on the line back in 2015 and he pushed all his chips to the middle of the table, but luck was not on his side. Former General manager Billy King took the blame for what many considered one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history that awarded the Celtics countless unprotected draft picks in exchange for three over-the-hill players.

The Nets owner is less visible in the media and instead of making headlines with the media, he's empowering his employees to do their jobs and providing them with terrific resources to be as effective as possible.

Prokhorov learned his lesson through that challenge as he's now taken a backseat to allow Marks to build a culture and develop the roster organically through purchasing draft picks, investing in international scouting and developing players from starting at the G-League level.

The Nets are now the talk of the NBA with the acquisition of Kevin Durant via sign and trade and Kyrie Irving by way of free agency. Prokhorov's best decision was to check his ego at the door and allow the basketball experts to make the basketball decisions. With a healthy Durant, the Nets are trending toward being a team that could be considered a championship contender. The team's owner learned his lesson that a lot more is at stake for the Nets organization that just his personal pride.

Don't sleep on Kevin Durant returning to the court this upcoming season

I've been watching the Nets for 25 years and I never recall a season with more anticipation or excitement than the 2019 campaign.

While Knicks fans, Celtics fans, and all-around Nets-haters try to rain on the parade by intimating that Kevin Durant won't be back this season and maybe never the same player again; I'm not buying it. 

Look, I understand the severity of Durant's injury and the normal timetable for recovery is 9-12 months. There isn't a strong track record of players rebounding from this setback in quick fashion and even fewer return to the same level of play they showcased prior to the injury.

All those things are good and well, but Durant is a different animal. His lean body will allow for a quicker recovery than more muscle-bound or bulkier athletes. Durant's strength has always been his ability to rise up and shoot over opponents. 

Standing 7-feet tall, Durant is almost indefensible and is regarded as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA. Even if Durant returns at 75 percent this season, and isn't fully himself until the 2020 season, a 75 percent Durant is better than 99 percent of the league. 

The other factor at work is that the surgeon that conducted the surgery on Durant is the Nets team doctor, part of the HSS team. The surgeon has closely followed Durant's situation and reports were that when Durant heard the doctors plan for rehab, he was very encouraged and elated. 

Durant posted pictures of him already rehabbing in the swimming pool and shooting baskets which is a major step forward. 

Take that for what you think it means, but that spells a quicker road to recovery than many anticipate. Brooklyn doesn't want to make the same mistake that Golden State did a year ago by rushing Durant back before he's ready. 

I have the utmost confidence in the Nets medical staff and Durant wanting to push himself as hard as possible without making the same mistake of coming back too soon again. 

Right now the Nets are not even mentioned in the top 3 teams in the East with the Bucks, Celtics, and Pacers all edging out the rising Brooklyn squad, but coming off a 42-win season it's expected that the team will take the next step forward. 

So what does that mean? 45 wins, 49 wins, 50-plus wins? Who knows, but it's not unreasonable to think that even if the Nets are the fourth-best team in the East that they'll be favored to win a first round matchup and then who knows if Durant will be back and ready in time for late-April to early-May. 

The Nets have a lot of work ahead to develop chemistry on the team with Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Garrett Temple and others joining the fold. Durant's injury is certainly an early question mark, but ruling him out the entire campaign is foolish at this point.  

Kevin Durant posts rehab photos on Instagram

Kevin Durant's rehab is underway and the sharpshooter is already shooting a basketball! Well technically he is because he's working out in a pool, but that's a major first step toward him making a return to the hardwood.

Check out all the photos below.

On this Day 18 years ago the Nets traded for Jason Kidd

Nearly 20 years later, it's a day that will live in infamy for many Nets fans. It's a day that forever changed the course of a franchise that for many years was considered the red-headed stepchild of the NBA. It was the day the Nets traded away Stephon Marbury for floor general and future first ballot hall of famer Jason Kidd. The agreement was in place on June 29, but couldn't be agreed to until July 18 when Marbury's base-year salary status came to a close.

The other pieces of the trade include Chris Carr, Elliot Perry and forward Bill Curley headed to the Nets while the Wolves got guard Terrell Brandon from Milwaukee and forward Brian Evans and two draft choices from the Nets, including a first-rounder. The then-New Jersey Nets sent Sam Cassell and Chris Gatling to the Bucks, who also get Paul Grant from the Wolves.

It was a complicated scenario, but the two star point guards saw their careers go in opposite directions. Marbury put up empty numbers during his time with the Suns, while Kidd served as the catalyst for the Nets 26-game turnaround and the first of back-to-back Finals appearances in his first year with the team. While the Nets abandoned the Meadowlands for a short stop in Newark before the permanent move to Brooklyn, it's clear that the Kidd trade was a landmark moment for the franchise.

With Kyrie Irving arriving as a free agent signing and Kevin Durants coming by way of a sign and trade involving DeAngelo Russell and several future draft picks, it's clear that this offseason marks the most important and perhaps impactful since Kidd's arrival to the Metropolitan area.

As Nets fans are anxiously await Durant to heal from a potentially devastating Achilles injury. An injury that he suffered in Game 5 of the finals-in his first action back since the Warriors reported he injured his calf in the semi-finals against the Rockets-it's not impossible that he returns to the court this season.

With or without Durant this year, the buzz and hype around the Brooklyn Nets is unprecedented. They transformed from one of the league's laughing stocks to a potential perennial power in the Eastern Conference. General manager Sean Marks was handed a complete mess left by former GM Billy King who was pressured by ownership to win-now back in 2014 and mortgaged the future to acquire aging stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. In three short years the Nets have quietly and meticulously built a culture that is the envy of the rest of the NBA.

Opponents admire the Nets tenacious play and free-flowing offensive system, including Kevin Durant. While most New Jerseyeans were sad to see the Nets leave the Garden State, there's no doubt that a marquee offseason like the one of the Nets enjoyed would be extremely unlikely playing in front of an empty building in the swamp. The Nets have established a brand of basketball, an identity and a culture in Brooklyn.

Now we'll have to seen if Marks' wheelings and dealings will return the Nets back to prominence like they once enjoyed under Kidd's leadership in the early-2000s.

Uncle Drew is a must watch for Nets fans

Kyrie Irving is often lauded for his play on the hardwood, but his depiction of old-time fictional street ball legend Uncle Drew is worthy of praise. Based on Nike Commercials showcasing Irving dressed up as the elderly baller schooling youngsters became widely popular and was the basis for the movie's development and release last summer.

Featuring Irving and former NBA greats: Shaquille O'Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, and slam dunk champion Nate Robinson, Uncle Drew is filled with humor, life lessons and lots of heart.

While Irving's surprisingly polished acting skills and laugh out loud portrayal of Uncle Drew are reason enough to give the basketball flick a chance, Nets fans will surely get a kick out of watching their franchise point guard's debut on the big screen.

2K20 ratings revealed: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving among 2K Elite

The Nets have two of the top eleven players in the NBA according to the ratings released by NBA 2K20 this week. Kevin Durant (3) and Kyrie Irving (11) proudly represent the borough of Brooklyn and Metropolitan area with a 96 and 91 rating respectively. While video game ratings clearly don't translate to on-court performance, 2K has been awfully good over the years of simulating each player's strengths and weaknesses.

Gaming has quickly become a billion dollar industry and even the NBA has followed suit by drafting players to represent the respective teams across the league. Below are the overall player ratings along with the ratings of this year's rooies, top five shooters, and dynamic duos

Player Overall rating
1. LeBron James 97
2. Kawhi Leonard 97
3. Giannis Antetokounmp 96
*4. Kevin Durant 96
5. James Harden 96
6. Stephen Curry 96
7. Anthony Davis 94
8. Paul George 93
9. Damian Lillard 92
10. Joel Embiid 91
*11. Kyrie Irving 91
12. Nikola Jokic 90
13. Russell Westbrook 90
14. Klay Thompson 89
15. Karl-Anthony Towns 89
16. Jimmy Butler 88
17. Kemba Walker 88
18. Donovan Mitchell 88
19. Rudy Gobert 88
20. Blake Griffin 88

NBA 2K20" player ratings: Top five rookies Player Overall rating
1. Zion Williamson 81
2. Ja Morant 79
3. RJ Barrett 78
4. De'Andre Hunter 77
5. Darius Garland 77

"NBA 2K20" player ratings: Top five shooters

Player 3-point rating
1. Stephen Curry 99
2. Klay Thompson 97
3. Joe Harris 94
4. JJ Redick 90
5. Buddy Hield 90

"NBA 2K20" player ratings: Top dynamic duos

Player Average overall rating 1. LeBron James and Anthony Davis 95.5
2. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George 95
3. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving 93.5
4. James Harden and Russell Westbrook 93