The Brooklyn Nets are not well-liked around the NBA community.
This season the consensus has seemed to be that Joe Tsai and the Nets ownership are ‘buying’ a championship rather than earning it.
The wealth of talent that Brooklyn boasts is massive. As if Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant were not enough, Nets general manager Sean Marks and company went and picked up All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin through the buyout market.
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Gary Payton Says Nets ‘Big 3’ Do Not Compare to 2004 Lakers
Even though Aldridge retired last week due to an irregular heartbeat, the Nets still have 35 NBA All-Star appearances on their roster. However, one Hall of Famer knows from personal experience that a team having a surplus of talent does not necessarily guarantee a championship.
“I don’t compare teams. They can’t compare to us. They can call themselves a super team all they want to,” Gary Payton said of the comparisons of the Nets to the 2004 Lakers during a recent appearance on Scoop B Radio with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
“I thought our team was just a good basketball team with 4 good basketball players – Hall of Famers.”
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2004 Lakers Were a Major Disappointment
The 2004 Los Angeles Lakers are widely regarded as one of the most disappointing teams in NBA History.
The team already had one of the most iconic duos ever in Shaquille O’Neal and the late Kobe Bryant. Then in the offseason, the Lakers went and added two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone and Payton who is a former defensive player of the year.
The team was heavily favored to win the championship that year but ran into the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals who’s defense proved to be too much for the Lakers to overcome as the they would lose the series in five games.
“We were never in those games. Never,” Payton said to Scoop B.
“I just think that they didn’t give them a chance and Detroit was tired of that.”
Payton Thinks Nets Have a Different Style Than 2004 Lakers
Looking at the entire scope of things it is not hard to see why many people would think that the 2020 Brooklyn Nets compare to the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams have multiple Hall of Famers, are widely hated around the league, and have championship or bust expectations on their shoulders.
However, when it comes to the style of play between the two teams Payton thinks that the Nets simply don’t compare.
“You can’t compare us in 2004 to this team here because we’re different players with different styles, different eras of basketball… this era is going up and down, they’re more outgoing,” Payton said.
“And they shoot more 3’s, everybody has an opportunity… you got things that are way different. Rules have changed. We don’t play defense the same way and we don’t play a lot of things the same way. It’s all different.”
While it must be an honor to be compared to a team that had four first-ballot Hall of Famers on its roster, the Nets are hoping that this team has a different result than the 2004 Lakers.