John Schuhmann said it best. "The Nets are, by far, the most improved team in the league from last season," by virtually any measure. And in the final power rankings of the season, Schuhmann and the other pundits all put them in the top 10 of the NBA, a big increase from last season's final ranking of 23.
In fact, all but Marc Stein have the Nets as the No. 9 team in their rankings. That includes John Hollinger's daily power rankings. A number of pundits didn't post new rankings this week, probably figuring that for the most part, the rankings have all been decided by the schedule.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (9)
The Nets are, by far, the most improved team in the league from last season, in terms of both winning percentage and point differential. And it's amazing that a team can rank in the top 10 offensively with Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace playing 2/3 of the minutes at the forward positions. But given their defensive inconsistency, getting out of the first round is no guarantee.
David Aldridge, NBA/TNT (9)
When all was said and done this season, the Nets have about the record I thought they would at the start of the year. (OK, I had them down for 50 wins, and they won't quite get there.)
Marc Stein, ESPN (10)
Can't ignore the trusted scout who keeps telling me that the Nets, with a rejuvenated D-Will, are built better for the postseason than the Knicks. The counterargument: If they're built so playoff-tough, why did the Nets go 15-27 against winning teams compared to 32-6 against sub-.500 teams?
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (9)
They will be the four seed, and considering this team won 33 percent of its games last season and hasn’t been above .500 since 2006. Deron Williams is playing like his old self and they will be a favorite in the first round of the playoffs (not so much against Miami in the second).
Sam Amico, FOX Sports (9)
There's enough talent here that makes you think if they put it all together … unexpected things may happen.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports (9)
Will someone on this team, for the love, please guard somebody?
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (9) published Friday
The Nets were only 1-3 vs. the Bulls this season, and that's just one reason they don't want to see Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.