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In Power Rankings, talk of health ... and the lottery

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We've made our predictions for the season.  Others in the local media have done the same.  Now, we take a look at the power rankings, those weekly barometers of team success.  What's the word?  In short, not good.  The consensus of the NBA's power-ranking pundits is that the Nets' health is suspect and that they might make the playoffs, but just barely.

Most of the 11 power rankers have the Nets in the 16 to 18 range, which would be put them on the cusp of the lottery. No one has them higher than #14 and no one has them lower than #19.  The rationale is all the same: their health, particularly that of Brook Lopez, is suspect.

Fred Kerber, who will be doing power rankings for the Post this year, offers this week's most insightful quote: " Joe Johnson is the best All-Star no one ever discusses."

John Schuhmann, (16)

You don't think run-and-gun when you think of Lionel Hollins, but the Nets made the league's biggest jump from their pace last season to their pace in the preseason. No matter how fast they're playing, their success will depend on the ankles of Deron Williams and the right foot of Brook Lopez, who suffered another setback just three games into his return.

Marc Stein, ESPN (19)

The Nets have had little chance to revel in the fine early form D-Will carries into the season (for a change) because of Brook Lopez's latest round of foot woes. But Lionel Hollins, defiant as ever, insists Brooklyn has enough left to make the so-called experts regret the gloomy forecasts about his new team.

Marc Spears, Yahoo Sports (18)

If the roster remains healthy, new coach Lionel Hollins has a very talented team. But it is an older, injury-plagued Nets squad.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation (18)

Paying $97 million for a team that has little-to-no chance of contending for an NBA title is an expensive hobby, so it's not all that surprising that Mikhail Prokhorov might be ready to invest that kind of money elsewhere. Brooklyn is going to be a "different" team with Brook Lopez returning and Lionel Hollins as the new head coach, but "different" doesn't necessarily mean better.

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (19)

This ranking may be low for a healthy Nets team… except already they are not healthy. Brook Lopez is a question mark for opening night. Lionel Hollins needs to win games but keeps these guys fresh for the playoffs, a tough line to walk.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports (18)

What a difference a year makes. Twelve months after Paul Pierce said, "Hello Brooklyn," he said "Truth, out." Gone, too, is Jason Kidd, and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Upheaval in systems always has a cost, but Lionel Hollins is a pure upgrade over Kidd as a tactician and motivator. Brook Lopez will return, and much like Rose, if you assume he'll be healthy, this team can still compete. But man, if Deron Williams was ever going to rise up out of the grave, now would be a great time for Night of the Living Point Guard.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (17)

If the Nets stay healthy—which is kind of like saying "if I win the lottery…"—they could be in the second tier of the East. But if Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams break down—as they've been known to do—Jason Kidd's decision to bolt Brooklyn will look a lot wiser.

Sam Amick, etc. USA Today (18)

Even with two veteran starters (Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston) gone, the Nets are one of the most experienced teams in the NBA. Now, can their youngest starter, Brook Lopez, finally stay healthy?

Sean Deveney, Sporting News (14)

There’s much less hype around this Nets team, yet they’ll probably be much as the same as they were last year. Point guard Deron Williams is in better shape, and if center Brook Lopez can hold up for a whole season, the Nets will easily be a playoff team in the East.

Jimmy Spencer, FOX Sports (15)

Kevin Garnett has been playing in the league longer (19 years) than some NBA players have been alive. He definitely wins the "Can You Believe He’s Still on a Roster?" award that Bill Walton should give out each year. He’s sticking around as part of a talented-and-once-again healthy Nets team that should thrive under hard-nosed new coach Lionel Hollins.

Fred Kerber, New York Post (14)

Healthy, the Nets can be a playoff migraine. Brook Lopez’s reconstructed foot plus Deron Williams’ bionic ankles are the worries, but figure coach Lionel Hollins has contingency plans for his contingency plans. At 38, Kevin Garnett’s biggest task, aside from an oatmeal and prunes diet, will be handling quicker power forwards. Joe Johnson is the best All-Star no one ever discusses. Mirza Teletovic and Bojan Bogdanovic shoot, Jarrett Jack toughens the backcourt.