Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 8/8/13

As every basketball fan knows, the NBA is currently run by the Miami Heat (and maybe David Stern). The Heat are the benchmark of greatness at the moment, and every team is simply trying to get on their level. The Brooklyn Nets are one of those franchises. They have money to spend, and are one of the few teams around with a completely “win now” attitude. This offseason, they have added superstars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with a new coach, Jason Kidd. Some have suggested that these acquisitions put the Nets on Miami's level. With Garnett and Pierce, their starting lineup now boasts five potential All-Star caliber players, and their bench is deep thanks to some smart signings like Andrei Kirilenko. Though they made sound moves to acquire Garnett and Pierce, along with a few others, they are far from being on the Heat’s level, and may struggle to improve on last season’s fourth place finish in the Eastern Conference. Here is why: 1. Garnett and Pierce are not getting any younger. Though Brooklyn traded five players to the Celtics in exchange for Garnett, Pierce and Terry, the Nets acquired two aging stars. The trade was a definite win for the Nets; they really didn’t give away much, and also distanced themselves from some bad contracts. Gerald Wallace won’t be missed. Still, Garnett and Pierce are well past their prime. Let’s begin with Pierce. He played 33.4 minutes per game last season, the fewest of his career. He averaged 18.6 points per game, 3.2 less than his career average. His field goal percentage is also down. Garnett is a similar story. He averaged four points less than his career average last season, and played his fewest minutes since his rookie season. He was also down in total rebounds. The most shocking stat from both players comes with regard to their Win Shares per 48 minutes (an estimate of the number of wins a player contributes per 48 minutes of playing time). Pierce was at the lowest level of his career last season, while Garnett was at his worst in 15 years. These guys simply aren’t as effective as they were ten, five, or even three years ago. Though the Nets will be better because of their presence, they do not add enough value at this point in their career to turn the Nets into a top-three NBA team. 2. Jason Kidd is unproven as a coach. Though the Nets have a “win now” attitude, they find themselves with a first year coach who may need some time settling into a constant seat on the bench. Jason Kidd retired this past season, and now finds himself coaching in Brooklyn. Unlike the Celtics, who hired Brad Stevens, the Nets do not have the luxury of tanking this season and allowing their coach to find his groove. The Nets have decided to go all in, yet for some reason decided to hire a rookie coach. Considering the sheer volume of available coaches it just seems like an odd choice. Lionel Hollins was available. So was George Karl. I doubt Phil Jackson would've taken the job, but I'm sure Mikhail Prokhorov would offer enough money to at least make him think about it. Point is, there were plenty of accomplished coaches out there. Don’t get me wrong; I do think Jason Kidd will succeed as an NBA coach. It just might take a few seasons. Those are years Garnett and Pierce don't have. 3. The competition is too good. The Nets finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season, just four games ahead of Chicago. The Bulls, in case you haven’t heard, were without Derrick Rose all season. Rose is worth far more than those four wins. As a point of reference, he contributed 13.1 Win Shares in his 2010-11 MVP season. It is questionable that the Nets will be able to overtake a Pacers team that came one game away from the NBA Finals. The Nets should overtake last year’s surprise, the Knicks, but they will still find themselves as the fourth-best team in the East. And that doesn't even take into account what's going on in the West. The Spurs will be back, as will the Thunder now that Russell Westbrook is healthy again. Dwight Howard is now a Rocket, the Warriors look to be improved, and Doc Rivers should do wonders for the Clippers. Point is, there are plenty of really good teams out there. Splurging on washed up future Hall of Famers seems like a great plan in practice, but the NBA is functioning at an extremely high level in 2013. In order to win championships you need three star players. Two just won’t cut it anymore. The Nets have one and half, at best, along with an inexperienced coach. They simply don't have enough talent to compete with Chicago, Indiana, and most importantly, the Heat. By: Sam Barder

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