When Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey) Nets back in 2010, he promised an NBA Championship within five years. It is two years later and during that time the Nets went 46-102, not coming anywhere near the playoffs.
However, after keeping Deron Williams and Brook Lopez and adding Joe Johnson this offseason, the Nets look like a team on the rise and Prokhorov is not straying from his title prediction.
"Every team has a grand plan,” Prokhorov said, “and we're moving slowly, step by step, because it's easy to make a strong team, but it's very difficult to make a championship team. So we are on the right way and I'm expecting our championship within three years now.”
Prokhorov clearly is not short on confidence, and that’s probably a good thing for a Nets team that has been stuck in the NBA basement for too long. I do not think anyone will be betting on Prokhorov’s prediction to come true this year. They do not measure up to the talent of the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers or Oklahoma City Thunder, but at least now, they should be competitive.
On top of their revamped team, they have a shiny new place to play. The Barclays Center will open up its doors this year. The $4.9 billion arena combined with the move to Brooklyn brings the Nets up to the ranks of the NBA’s richest, big-market teams. Prokhorov’s goal was clearly to make his team a franchise in the spotlight, and he has definitely done that.
"I'm very excited," Prokhorov said when asked about the arena. "As I already mentioned, when I saw it two years ago, it was a hole in the ground. It's a dream, for me, what we see now. I think it's the best arena in the world. I'm expecting a great rivalry with the Knicks."
Looking at some of the pictures, it certainly is an impressive spectacle.
The Brooklyn Nets have a lot of pressure to perform quickly. Their owner has set the bar high and left them open to a lot of criticism if they fail. That’s the price you pay to play in the bright lights of the Big Apple.