The Power Rankings are out and even with the loss to the Heat, the consensus is that the Brooklyn Nets are a top five team. (There is a connection between this item and the one about Avery Johnson as coach of the month)
Of all the top power rankers, only the two ESPN writers, Marc Stein and John Hollinger, have the Nets outside the Top Five. Stein has them at No. 6 and Hollinger one place below. Hollinger still has the Knicks at No. 4. USA Today also has the Nets at No. 6.
Here the rankers comments on the Nets...
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (5)
Their offense hit a wall in the second half in Miami on Saturday, but the Nets have proved that they're in the mix at the top of the East with recent wins over the Clips, Knicks and Celtics. Next is Tuesday's test against OKC, with Brook Lopez likely missing his third straight game. They will have Jerry Stackhouse, who now has more threes (15) than he did over the last two seasons combined (14).
Marc Stein, ESPN (6)
The Nets just posted their first 10-win November since the second of their back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002-03. Our question: Focus on the steadily improving D and Jerry Stackhouse's renaissance, or the slumping (Joe Johnson/Gerald Wallace) and ailing (D-Will and Brook Lopez)?
Seth Rosenthal, SB Nation (5)
The lockdown D we saw in that impressive win over the Clippers last week may not have been an accident. The Nets built their five-game win streak out of shattering defense that buoyed them until right around halftime of the streak-ending loss in Miami. After that collapse, it'll be very interesting to see how they handle the Thunder offense on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Deron Williams hasn't been shooting well, but his ability to thread passes to open friends has ignited some genuinely impressive ball movement in Brooklyn's staunchly slow-paced offense that keeps flowing even when he's off the floor. This remarkable shooting by Jerry Stackhouse isn't purely his own doing. Please don't hit me for saying that, Jerry. OK, but be gentle.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (5) ... published Friday
The Nets improved to 8-1 when holding opponents under 100 with their beatdown of Boston, but they might have suffered a substantial loss in the process. Big man Brook Lopez will miss at least two games after injuring the same foot that sidelined him for all but five games last season. It's unfortunate news for Brooklyn and Lopez, who, as Chris Mannix noted, is enjoying his team's new success more than anyone after enduring years of losing in New Jersey. The Nets can't afford to lose their center for an extended period of time, unless backup big man Andray Blatche can put up more 17-point, 13-rebound efforts like he did against the Celtics. Jerry Stackhouse, 38, might be an ageless wizard (9-of-11 shooting from three-point range in his last three games!), but he can't help Brooklyn down low.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (5) ... published Friday
They've sent messages to the Knicks and Celtics this week that they're for real, but can they do the same thing against the Heat in Miami?
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (5)
Deron Williams is struggling with his shot — 39.9 percent on the season — but he will not blame his sprained wrist. The Nets offense has been bailed out by the suddenly hot Jerry Stackhouse, who loves the corner three and has 15 from beyond the arc this season. BTW, nice win over the Knicks.