NEW YORK — The Nets ended their season at Madison Square Garden last night with a 102-73 loss to the Knicks — without Vince Carter and Devin Harris — and now begin what should be another busy offseason.
Will coach Lawrence Frank be back? Will Carter? What’s Yi Jianlian’s future — a bust or a contributor? Who will they draft? Will they trade their pick? Will they make any big deals?
The quick answers to all of this are maybe, probably, we’ll see, the best available player, perhaps and they’ll try. The real answers will come soon enough. Before we look ahead, here’s a look back at 2008-09:
Carter beats out Harris because he was healthier, came to play every night and led this team to the last game. Carter embraced his role as captain. He led by example, played hurt and helped give the young guys a role model to follow.
5 Biggest Surprises
1. Brook Lopez: You don’t normally find a potential franchise center with the No. 10 pick
2. The Nets: With eight new faces they stayed in the playoff race longer than expected
3. Devin Harris: Went from essentially a complementary player in Dallas to an All-Star here
4. Ryan Anderson: Scored more points than eight players taken ahead of him
5. Keyon Dooling: We knew he was good, but had a career year and was instant energy
5 Biggest Disappointments
1. Yi Jianlian: Just when he looked like he got it, he broke his pinky and went backward
2. Home Play: Nets were 19-22 at Izod Center and lost 13 games by at least 10 points
3. Eduardo Najera: Nets may have been better defensively and overall if he wasn’t hurt all season
4. No Moves: Management tried, but never found a third point guard or upgraded the roster in-season
5. Josh Boone: Didn’t improve and Lopez’s emergence didn’t inspire him to raise his game
5 Games to Remember
1. Nets 129, Raptors 127 (OT), Nov. 21, Air Canada Centre
Harris was in the back sick, returned and had a great second half, but this game was about Carter’s game-tying three in regulation and his alley-oop dunk to win in OT.
2. Nets 98, Sixers 96, Feb. 23, Izod Center
Harris’ halfcourt heave with Andre Iguodala draped all over him was shot of the year; the kind that made you think the Nets were going to be a Cinderella playoff team – guess not.
3. Nets 121, Mavs 97, Dec. 19, IZOD Center
In Jason Kidd’s return, an inspired Harris had 41 points and 13 assists against his old team, leading the fans to chants of “Thank you, Cuban,” to Mavs’ owner Mark.
4. Nets 117, Suns 109, Nov. 30, U.S. Airways Center
Harris’ 47 points helped the Nets cap a 3-1 trip and end a 14-game drought in the desert. Harris became an All-Star on this trip.
5. Nets 114, Nuggets 70, Feb. 7, IZOD Center
Denver never saw this one coming. Who did? This was an all-out annihilation of one of the NBA’s best teams.
5 Games to Forget
1. Bucks 107, Nets 78, March 30, IZOD Center
They should have asked for some stamps because they mailed this one in one day after a no-show in Minnesota.
2. Celtics 105, Nets 86, Jan. 17, IZOD Center
Young fans had to watch this matinee massacre and their favorite players, Harris and Carter, benched for the second half.
3. Wizards 108, Nets 88, Dec. 2, IZOD Center
Coming off a 3-1 West trip, the Nets left their legs and us-against-everyone mentality in another time zone.
4. Clippers 107, Nets 105, March 15, Staples Center
Everyone remembers the foul up three and Steve Novak’s game-winner, but the Nets played with no urgency while still in the playoff race.
5. Golden State 116, Nets 112, March 11, Oracle Arena
Nets led this game by 14 and were outscored in the second half, 63-45. It was a bad omen to start the 0-4 trip that ultimately sealed their playoff fate.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)