After pre-season predictions that the Nets are lottery-bound, power rankers are taking another look at Brooklyn and to a man, they've all jumped them up. Marc Spears of Yahoo! jumped them eight places and along with Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, he's got them all the way up at No. 11. Only one writer, Matt Moore, has them lower than No. 16, which is the playoff threshold. He has them at No. 17.
Most writers note, accurately, that the Nets have yet to be tested. No back-to-backs, no playoff contenders. Both of those things will change this week, so some writers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude on just how good the Nets will be.
Here they are...
John Schuhmann, NBA.com, 15 (+3)
The Nets have the East's fifth-best record, its best offense, and its second-best point differential. But they've played the league's easiest schedule and are one of two teams (Denver is the other) that has yet to play a back-to-back. This week brings them one of those (Wednesday and Thursday against the Suns and Warriors), along with some real competition.
Marc Stein, ESPN, 16 (+5)
You can predict what we're going to say here. Deron Williams essentially forced our hand with how good he looked in the Gotham derby. It's as big an if as there is in this league, but the Nets' outlook -- he said for the zillionth time -- brightens considerably if they can keep that D-Will around.
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports, 11 (+8)
Brooklyn’s Bojan Bogdanovic’s 22 points against Orlando on Sunday are the most by a rookie this season. This rookie class is starting slowly.
Drew Garrison, SB Nation, 14 (+4)
Things are about to get real for Brooklyn as they prepare to run through a gauntlet of Western Conference opponents. A three-game road trip against the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers, followed by a home game against the San Antonio Spurs will be hard to come out of unscathed.
Still, they've actually been one of the better teams on offense this season, second to the Dallas Mavericks. Yes, a team coached by Lionel Hollins has been significantly better at scoring (109.5 points scored per 100 possessions) than defending (102 points allowed per 100 possessions).
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports, 11 (+3)
They have the second best points per 100 possessions differential in the East (trailing only Toronto) — they also have played a very soft schedule. Let’s see how they look after this week on the road in Phoenix, Golden State and Portland.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports, 17 (+4)
Good players on a pretty good, but not great team. Turns out that massive housing project and millions of dollars in re-branding resulted in the NBA's equivalent of two-percent milk. Congrats.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated, 16 (+3)
Bojan Bogdanovic, 25, is one of the best rookies in the league. The 6-8 forward is adeptly filling ex-Net Paul Pierce's role in the starting lineup, highlighted by a 22-point effort in Sunday's win over the Magic. Much like Pierce, Bogdanovic is a capable shooter with good size and ball-handling skills. Brooklyn, however, misses Pierce on defense, where Bogdanovic is still adjusting.
Sam Amick et al, USA Today, 14 (+4)
Mirza Teletovic should be right near the top of sixth man of the year lists.
*Jimmy Spencer, FOX Sports, 13 (+2)
The Nets deserve an unofficial victory in the standings with this early quote-of-the-year nominee: When asked about the swift exit of Jason Kidd, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said, "Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you." … With the accent and everything.
* posted Friday
Fred Kerber, New York Post, 15 (no change)
Forget Bermuda or that blasted offense the Knicks treat like advanced calculus. The Nets face a horrific three-game triangle this week: Suns-Warriors back-to-back topped off by stop at the Blazers’ house. Those foes are 9-3 combined at home.