Nets starting to look like 2005 Wolves team that made Garnett cry on TNT


Expectations were high.

Coming off a 2003-04 NBA MVP, deep run into the playoffs, and influx of talent that put together the best season in franchise history, Wolves fans expected a repeat performance from Kevin Garnett and Minnesota in the 2004-05 year.

Things went awry.

After a 13-6 start, Minnesota lost 20 of their next 32 games. The only head coach Garnett ever had in the NBA, Flip Saunders, was fired five days before the Wolves took on the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in a nationally televised primetime matchup.

Minnesota came into the game having lost eight of their last 10, and before the contest Kevin Garnett sat down with former Georgetown head basketball coach John Thompson to discuss the situation the Wolves were in.

Garnett always wore his emotions on his sleeve, but much of the basketball world had never seen this side of him.

Things weren't the same as the year prior, and the losing, firing of Saunders, and weight of the franchise on his broad shoulders broke KG that day.

The team would make a late push with Kevin Mchale at the coaching helm, finishing 44-38 on the season, but would come up short of the playoffs, the first time in nine years Minnesota wouldn't make it.

A few years later the Wolves traded Garnett to Boston for what would prove to be an almost-entirely worthless group of players.

The Wolves haven't made the playoffs in 10 years, but in Boston, Garnett made two NBA Finals appearances and won a title, prompting this celebration of relief, ecstasy, and the simple phrase "I'm certified."

Garnett was once again moved this offseason, shipped to Brooklyn with his close friend Paul Pierce along with Jason Terry for a massive package of draft picks and OK-but-not-great players, leading Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov to state "today, the basketball gods smiled on the Nets."

Turns out, at least in the early stages of the trade, no one in Boston or Brooklyn are smiling at all.

The Celtics are 4-9 and have lost five in a row, while giving up 100-plus points in six of their last seven games.

Meanwhile, three-and-a-half hours south in Brooklyn, the Nets are actually worse off than Boston, having won just three times while giving up 101.7 points per game on the season in the top heavy Eastern Conference.

They're better than only the lowly Milwaukee Bucks in the standings.

It is undoubtedly too early to tell how the seasons of these two east coast teams will shake out, but for Garnett and the Nets, the rough start is already taking its toll.

KG vented after his team's loss to Charlotte Wednesday, their sixth in seven games, saying he has no idea how to fix the club and "to hell with all the talking, come out and apply it."

What are similarities between Garnett's Brooklyn squad and the '04-'05 team that fell squarely on its face? Glad you asked, yes would be the answer.

Paul Pierce is very accurately playing the role of aging shooting guard that left his best days in the rear-view mirror. Pierce is averaging just 13 points per game after going north of 18 per contest each of the last 14 seasons. He battles nagging injuries and is no longer explosive, essentially reducing him to a spot-up shooter.

His '04-'05 equivalent? Undoubtedly Latrell Sprewell, who put up 16-plus points per game his whole career until that year, which ended up being his last, when he scored just 12.8.

The Sam Cassell of the 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets? It's somewhere between Jason Terry, Shaun Livingston, and Deron Williams. Williams is still a very good point guard, but is constantly injured, so Terry sees some minutes.

Those minutes though, are minimal. Livingston, a man most famous for an injury of his own, has seen most of the time at the point with Williams in and out of the lineup. He has been largely serviceable with Williams missing, while Terry has been relatively non-existent all year.

Cassell struggled with health as well, starting just 38 games while playing in 59, his scoring going to just 13 points per game when he did play, his lowest since 1995-96.

Aside from Cassell and Sprewell on KG's supporting cast in 2004-05, it was a rag-tag bunch of scorers that didn't do much to change a game.

Wally Szczerbiak ('13-'14 Nets' Joe Johnson), Troy Hudson (Alan Anderson), and Eddie Griffin (Mason Plumlee) are just a few examples.

The two sides have so many similarities, so will their seasons follow the same path?

Only time will tell, but we'll venture to guess there will be one significant difference: While KG may vent to the media, now that he has a ring and is in the twilight of his career, "'Da Kid" likely won't be doing any weeping on national television this time around.

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