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Pundits think Nets can succeed, but it won't be easy

Jamie Squire

It may be too early to tell ... or even speculate, but many bloggers are out and about giving their off-season review, and in some cases pre-season preview.

The Nets season was put into perspective early this summer, with the shocking loss of their newly minted head coach and the departures of Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston. Some think the Nets can succeed, but "will they?" is the burning question in Brooklyn.

Rob Mahoney of believes the Nets can prevail this season with Lionel Hollins calling the shots, but it will be tough within an improving Eastern Conference.

Success for Hollins is very possible, though whether he can get enough from this roster to the extent that warrants a playoff spot is another matter entirely. Brooklyn will enter next season stripped of its continuity and again at a reset, all while the rest of the Eastern Conference grows dramatically stronger in the middle.

Mahoney sees it as a three team race for the eighth and final spot in the East with the Nets, wounded Pacers, and Knicks. Those three will fall behind the Cavaliers, Bulls, Wizards, Raptors, Hawks, Hornets and Heat.

Mahoney believes that the Nets have a good chance of making the playoffs ahead of the other two teams that he sees fighting for a playoff spot, but it may not be worthwhile. " There's reason to like the Nets' chances against that lot, though the prize at stake would only be a difficult series against a much better team," Mahoney writes. "At this early juncture, playoff inclusion seems to be the caliber of prize Brooklyn's lavishly built roster will be playing for."

In the end, Mahoney gives a grim outlook on the team going forward. "All of the most hopeful possibilities, though, rely on the same long assumption: That Brooklyn, in yet another rebirth, can access some of the magic that eluded a more talented roster a year ago."

James Herbert of offers a similar review of the Nets off-season, but is a bit more optimistic going forward, giving the team a C. Herbert notes that this grade is based mainly on the fact that they lost Pierce, but he believes that with Hollins on the sidelines, the Nets may be better off.

This grade mostly reflects losing Pierce. The Kidd thing was insane, but it's hard to look at replacing him with Hollins as a bad move. Hollins likely will relate to the experienced roster, and perhaps he's a better fit with Lopez's low-post game. Jack is a downgrade from Livingston defensively, but is better on offense than he showed in Cleveland last season.

Herbert doesn't think the Nets are competing for a championship for the next several years, but there is hope that they can be a solid team. "While no one could have scripted the offseason playing out like this, the Nets did a decent enough job recovering," Herbert writes. "They could still be pretty good, and that was essentially their ceiling regardless."