On paper, it all looks so easy.
First, you start with one of the league's elite point guards, then trade for an All-Star shooting guard to round out the backcourt and sign an athletic former All-Star at small forward to divert some attention away from your two most dangerous weapons.
After that, you nurse your offensively-inclined 7-footer in the middle back to health, add a couple sharpshooters to spread the floor and a couple bruisers to crash the boards, then tack on a few veterans to fill out the bench -- and, voila, you have an NBA championship contender.
That's how it was supposed to go down in Brooklyn during the Nets' inaugural season at the Barclays Center. And when the long-time laughingstock of the Atlantic Division kicked off the inaugural campaign in its new home, it appeared to be headed for the type of early success that teams like the Miami Heat once struggled to maintain and the Los Angeles Lakers are still trying to find.
But after back-to-back loss...