Am I missing something?
It seems like Jay-Z has done it again. It's really quite brilliant. Jay-Z is one of the few rappers from the early 90s that still produces hits, yet somehow has avoided the "selling out" tag that others like Snoop Dogg (or Lion) and Ice Cube have accepted. He's largely considered among the top rappers of all time, and has been for twenty years.
So where am I going with this?
If you really break it down, Jay-Z is not really a great rapper. Relatively clumsy flow. So-so voice. Mediocre lyricism. In many ways, he mirrors Puff Daddy. Famous Rapper, who's probably better at his various business ventures than actually rapping.
And since the reason they got famous wasn't really because of their talent, but rather their personality and image, they've been able to carry that over to other ventures. Because of Jay-Z and Puff Daddy's clothing lines, shoe brands, record labels, famous girlfriends and TV cameos, we forget that the skill that got them famous in the first place was never really that special.
INTRODUCING! THE BROOKLYN NETS!
This is Jay-Z's team! And they're moving to Brooklyn. How can this not be a success?
How about the fact that Jay-Z only owns 0.07 percent of the team? And that they won just 22 games last year with Deron Williams healthy for just about all of them.
Or the fact that their prized big man took down just 3.5 defensive rebounds per game in his last full 82 game season. And the fact that that Big Man is coming off of foot surgery and is likely to be even less aggressive on close outs and loose balls.
Or that their defense last year was ranked 29th - ahead of only Charlotte - in adjusted defensive ranking (points per 100 possessions adjusted to opponent).
Somehow this is going to win the Atlantic Division, that's what Sports Illustrated thinks. Or win 47 games, an adjusted 20 more than last year, according to CBS Sports.
What am I missing?
Is there some magic force field of basketball malaise that floats above Newark, NJ, preventing their players from playing well? Or is the new arena in Brooklyn armed with MonStars who steal opposing team's talent?
The fact is, I don't get how a 22-win team that adds Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, somehow gets 20-wins better simply because they play in a different area code. And to me, if Jay-Z wasn't attached to this, they wouldn't be expected to be.
We keep falling for Jay-Z. In 2006, MTV named him the greatest MC of all-time. His night club, 40/40, is one of the hottest late-night spots in New York and his clothing line, Rocawear, nets annual sales of $700 million per year.
Stop falling for it. Jay-Z has only ever had one #1 song in his career. His night club expansion to Las Vegas closed in a matter of weeks, while his NYC club got sued by its own employees for refusal to pay wages. Meanwhile, his clothing line, Rocawear, got in trouble for putting raccoon dog fur on it's fabrics.
I for one, will not fall for the Brooklyn Nets.