They've lost four straight games, but the Nets remain in the top 10 in all the big power rankings but one, the NBC Sports rankings, which has them 13th. Half have them in top eight. The reason: the writers seem to understand (even John Hollinger) that the Nets are hurting mainly because of the temporary loss of Brook Lopez.
One issue, however, that has cropped up in this week's rankings. Both Marc Stein and Mitch Lawrence write that Deron Williams' wrist is a bigger problem than he or the Nets have let on.
Here are the quotes...
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (10)
Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace are the All-Stars, but is there any doubt now that Brook Lopez is the Nets' most important player? They're now 1-4 without him, looking awful on both ends of the floor at one point or another. So it would be nice if he were back for Round 2 vs. the Knicks on Tuesday, the start of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch, but that doesn't sound likely.
Marc Stein, ESPN (10)
No special sources needed to confirm that the Nets, after four straight defeats against teams with records over .500, officially miss the ailing Brook Lopez. Deron Williams, meanwhile, recently averaged a mortal 11.4 ppg over seven games and clearly ain't himself thanks to that bad wrist.
Seth Rosenthal, SB Nation (8)
It's hard to drop the Nets too low for floundering -- and badly -- without Brook Lopez, their offensive rock. Then again, it's a bit alarming that their offense has been so ineffective without Lopez and the backcourt unable to compensate for his absence. Meanwhile, is Kris Humphries' benching in favor or Reggie Evans a long-term thing? Guys?
Sean Deveney, Sporting News (9)
Team owner Mikhail Prokhorov was at the Barclays Center on Sunday. He couldn’t have liked what he saw—the Nets trailing by 24 in the second half, going on to lose their fourth straight.
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (13)
Losers of four straight and, dare we say it, their defense is terrible without Brook Lopez in the lineup? It’s true, which suggests maybe the Mayans were right and we should all be stacking up on canned goods for the shelter. Rematch with the Knicks this week.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (8) published Friday
Brooklyn went 1-2 this week without center Brook Lopez, but gets a slight pass because the losses came to the Heat and Thunder. The Nets will need Lopez to stop their slide down these rankings, but, in the meantime, they'll try to get by with the 6-foot-11 enigma that is Andray Blatche manning the middle. With Lopez sidelined, Blatche averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in three starts, an impressive output for a guy signed to a minimum contract after being amnestied by the league-worst Wizards. Blatche has always had talent, but he hasn't always shown the ability to use it. With a 23 PER this season, it looks like he's starting to put it together. It's amazing what a contract year can do for a player.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (6) published Friday
Look, even if his wrist is killing him, Deron Williams is going to have to play like a franchise player for Brooklyn to be a real factor this season.