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Winners of four of their last five, Nets still low in power rankings

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets have won four of their last five and going into Chicago Tuesday night, but none of the three wins has been against a team with a winning record.  In fact, the Nets haven't beaten a team with a winning record in nearly a month and only once all year.  Saturday's loss to a 10-20 Indiana squad once again painted them as mediocre.

The power rankings, which are increasingly scattered around the week, reflect that mediocrity. Very little movement, with only NBC Sports, and USA Today moving them up more than one place over last week.  For the most part, the power ranking pundits have them at around 20.

John Schuhmann,, 20 (-)
The Nets have had 11 different starters and nine different starting lineups, but they've been the second best first quarter team in the league. It's all downhill, on both ends of the floor, from there, no matter how highly paid the reserves are. So there's no clear solution for Lionel Hollins, whose team is just a few more games from becoming a bottom-five offense.

Marc Stein, ESPN, 21 (+1)
The Nets have been better with Jarrett Jack and Mason Plumlee starting over the still-healing Deron Williams and Brook Lopez ... or so we thought until they lost by 25 at home to 10-20 Indiana. Don't even ask: Sacramento won't be taking D-Will with it after playing in Brooklyn on Monday night.

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports, 20 (-)
The Nets play the Kings on Monday night in the wake of recent talk about Brooklyn trading guard Deron Williams to Sacramento.

Drew Garrison, SB Nation, 18 (-)
It's disappointing the Nets are such an afterthought in what sounds like it'll be the final season of Kevin Garnett's career. When Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are the seventh and eighth men off the bench, things haven't gone according to plan.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports, 20 (-)
Put together three solid wins vs. bad teams, then got their backsides handed to them by the Pacers, when a tough team hit Barclays. They've still got the talent, but they've got to establish some sort of identity beyond "Hey, Mason Plumlee's better than you'd think!" That's not a strategy, even in the East.

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports, 19 (+2)
Lionel Hollins is finding it was a lot easier to put together a quality offense around Marc Gasol than it has been with the ingredients the Nets have given him. Challenging road games vs. Bulls and Heat up for the Nets this week.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated, 20 (+1)
Billy King deserves Executive of the Year if he finds a taker for Deron Williams. Anyone interested in a 30-year-old point guard who is due $60-plus million over the next three years, has had surgery on both ankles, is shooting a career-worst 39.9 percent and appears to have lost all confidence in his game? Bueller?

Adi Joseph, USA Today, 18, (+2)
Give Brook Lopez a chance. Lionel Hollins has been critical of the center, but he is too good to give up on.

Fred Kerber, New York Post, 17 (+1)
With Deron Williams and Brook Lopez earning a combined $35.4 million this season, Nets now have most expensive bench in history. Johnny Bench made 1/10 of that — $3.5 million total – in a 17-year career with the Cincinnati Reds.

Michael Lee, Washington Post 18 (+1)
The Nets’ refusal to include Mason Plumlee has reportedly stalled a Deron Williams trade to Sacramento, and Brooklyn has good reason to hold on. In his past seven games, Plumlee is averaging 18.1 points on 67.5 shooting with 10.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Josh Martin, Bleacher Report, 19 (+1)
The trouble is, the reason the Nets want to move the likes of Williams and Lopez is the very same one that will make it difficult for them to do so: money.

Well, that and the injury concerns and so-so production they bring with them.

Until that shake-up comes, the Nets will have little choice but to trudge along as a fringe playoff team in the awful East.

Scott Branson,, 17 (+2)

After taking care of business against three bad teams in a row, the Nets got thrashed by the Pacers to take the wind out of their sails. Somehow Kevin Garnett's 'intimidation' technique wasn't enough. Brooklyn bounced back to beat the Kings on Monday, paced by a team-high 22 points from Mason Plumlee, who has scored in double figures in nine of the last 10 games.