Marc Stein decided to do a special training camp edition of his Power Rankings and while the Nets and their fans are increasingly optimistic, with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez looking good, Stein has them finishing out of the playoffs in the East, behind the Knicks.
Overall, Stein has the Nets 19th, and ninth in the East. His Eastern Conference playoff teams are Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, Toronto, Charlotte, Miami, Atlanta and New York. In his rationale for ranking the Nets out of the playoffs, Stein cites health issues...
In Year 5 of the Mikhail Prokhorov regime, which he openly hoped would deliver a championship in five years or less, Brooklyn just wants to hang on as a playoff team until it has cap space to play with in 2016. 'Til then? Everything hinges on big comebacks by Brook Lopez and Deron Williams.
Is that the case? The Nets have no aspirations beyond the playoffs, not according to Lionel Hollins, Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett, all of whom have stated publicly that their goal is still a title run. Well, that's why they play the games.
Overall, Stein has San Antonio No. 1 and Cleveland No. 2.
Power Rankings: Champs still No. 1 - Marc Stein - ESPN