With the All-Star Break now over and a full schedule of games restarted, power rankers are back in business and for the most part, the Nets numbers haven't changed. They've moved up a little after wins over Indiana and Denver, but as Wes Szafran of N.J. com writes, they're "very streaky, hard to get a gauge."
So they remain in the No. 9 to No. 12 range. Is that awful? Not according to Mitch Lawrence, who notes, "For all their troubles and Deron Williams very disappointing play, they're still in fourth place in the East after posting solid wins over Indiana on the road and Denver at home. That's not terrible."
Deron Williams' need for treatment and rest has led some to again note that he's not been himself lately. John Schuhmann has perhaps the most telling stat.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (11)
The Nets got two impressive wins (over Indiana and Denver) to close their pre-break schedule ... without Deron Williams. Hopefully, the extra rest and platelet-rich plasma treatment on his ankles can help get Williams some of his burst back. After taking 32 percent of his shots from the restricted area in his first seven seasons, he's attempted only 19 percent of them from there this year.
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports (9)
Deron Williams is expected to return from an ankle injury this week in what would be his first action since USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said he wasn’t in the best shape during the Olympics.
Marc Stein, ESPN, (12)
Brook Lopez's all-around maturation is notable, but the former All-Stars (Deron Williams and Joe Johnson) have stagnated. And top-tier teams still give the Nets fits. Translation: Not sure about those conference finals, Mr. Prokhorov. (Jeremy Gordon, TrueHoop Network)
Wes Szafran, NJ.com (10)
Very streaky, hard to get a gauge.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (9)
It has been a tough year for Deron Williams, which is odd because it's been a good year for the Nets. While he's helped make the franchise's transition to Brooklyn a success, it's tough to ignore his difficulties, which likely contributed to Avery Johnson's early exit. Williams, a career 45.1 percent shooter, has struggled with his shot since leaving Utah and those struggles have continued this season with him shooting 41.3 percent. He's also averaging the fewest assists (7.6) since his rookie year, further diminishing his reputation as one of the league's best point guards. The Nets can get away with a less-than-full-strength Williams in the regular season, but they need the All-Star version to win in the playoffs.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (12)
For all their troubles and Deron Williams very disappointing play, they're still in fourth place in the East after posting solid wins over Indiana on the road and Denver at home. That's not terrible.
John Hartzell, DIME (11)
This team just isn’t working. Joe Johnson isn’t scoring, Deron Williams seems pouty and Gerald Wallace has become a non-factor. They, too, seem like a team very eager to make a trade before this Thursday’s trade deadline, with Josh Smith being a rumored target. Are they just trying to become the Hawks?