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Been down so long, looks like up to me


The week's Power Rankings are (mostly) in. Even though Christmas shopping and whatever has caused a couple of the pundits to miss their (our) deadline, they're forgiven in the spirit of the season.

The general trend is up, but not much. We can't help but think that if Brook Lopez had played vs. Detroit and the Nets had won, one of the power rankers would have placed them in the teens. Alas, that didn't happen and the highest they got this week is No. 21, from NBC Sports. The rest were mostly in the low 20's, a big improvement from the last two weeks, but then so is the Nets health.

Among this week's comments, the most interesting are from John Schuhmann and Marc Stein.

John Schuhmann, (22)

"What a difference a point guard makes. Heck, what a difference somebody who can dribble and accelerate makes. The Nets have had three of their best offensive games with the return of Deron Williams and scored over 114 points per 100 possessions in Williams' 105 minutes on the floor last week. Without him, they had nobody who could run a pick-and-roll and make the defense move."

Marc Stein, ESPN (23)

"The bad news: Brooklyn has already racked up five losses by 20 points or more after seven for the entire season in 2012-13. The good news: Deron Williams -- who is only the key to everything for the banged-up and creaky Nets -- is averaging 20.7 ppg and 6.7 apg in his first three games back."

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports (25)

"Brooklyn Nets (8-15; last week's ranking: 26): Brook Lopez is questionable against the Sixers on Monday with an ankle sprain. He missed seven games last month with an ankle injury."

Jason Patt, SB Nation (24)

"The Nets have shown some signs of life with Deron Williams back in the lineup. Brooklyn looked extremely impressive in a victory over the Clippers on TNT Thursday night, dominating for most of the night after a slow start."

Matt Moore, CBS Sports (26)

"Maybe the illness has passed. Or this was the death rattle."

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (21)

"Deron Williams is back and suddenly the Nets offense looks vastly improved. Shocking what a good point guard can do. With games against the Sixers (twice) and Washington this week, they could put together a little run."

Chris Sheridan, Sheridan Hoops (22)

"Won two of three with Deron Williams back in the lineup, including one over the LAC. Unfortunately, Brook Lopez re-injured his ankle Friday night."

Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (22)

"Deron Williams sure does make a difference. After crushing the Clippers in D-Will's second game back, they take their season-high, three-game winning streak into Friday night's game into Detroit, with the Pistons on a three-game slide..."

Meanwhile, ESPN using some John Hollinger statistical model projects the Knicks have twice as good a chance to make the playoffs as the Nets.  Whatever.