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What?! A positive season preview?! Chris Mannix thinks Brooklyn Nets "should compete for a playoff spot"

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Mannix has had some positive things to say about the Nets off-season and now, as part of Sports Illustrated's season preview, he looks at the team's prospects.

Mannix goes rogue, at least for NBA pundits, and predicts the Nets "should compete" for a playoff spot.  Here's his analysis...

After five years of burning through hundreds of millions of dollars of Mikhail Prokhorov's money, and flipping first round draft picks for faded veterans, the Nets are taking a more conventional approach to team building. The Nets biggest off season pick up was ex-Knick Andrea Bargnani and Brooklyn exercised some foresight in drafting Syracuse player Chris McCullough a player who likely won't offer a lot this year but could prove to be a good value in 2016.

Short term, the Nets will try to win by riding Brook Lopez. Lopez had a nice bounceback season last year...

To create space for Lopez to work, the Nets have surrounded him with floor spacers. When healthy, Bargnani can step out and make jump shots. Thaddeus Young, who was resigned this summer, can too. Joe Johnson is still a dangerous scorer. The addition of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finally gives Brooklyn a potential perimeter stopper they have been lacking.

The Nets have questions. Can Jarrett Jack be a full time starter after the cutting of Deron Williams. Is Bojan Bogdanovic ready to start alongside of him. But if Lopez is ready to shoulder a heavy workload, Brooklyn should compete for a playoff spot in the East.

Now, Mannix prefers to see Bargnani ("when healthy") as a proven veteran rather than a punchline in a Knick fan's comedy routine and he's more optimistic than most about RHJ having an impact this year.  Still, it's always nice to see some optimism, anywhere. Refreshing, actually.