No one but John Schuhmann (the founder of this site, by the way ... all bow) has the Nets higher than No. 28, but within the power rankings this Monday were some (relatively) positive comments: "decent team" (NBA.com), "actually been competitive" (ESPN); "veered closer to 'bad' than 'horrific'" (Yahoo!) and "the Nets have been playing better" (NBC Sports.) All good for a team that started 0-7 and has since gone 3-4.
Encouraging ... until you realize they play the Thunder (probably with Kevin Durant), the Cavaliers (with LeBron James) and the Pistons (with Andre Drummond) between Wednesday and Sunday, the first two on the road. After the dreaded 16-game start, the Nets will play 26 of their next 38 at home.
The Nets haven't been able to get consistent stops, but they've looked like a decent team more often than not over the last two weeks and have played one of the league's toughest schedules (which isn't getting any easier this week). Thaddeus Young has averaged 18.3 points and 10.0 rebounds over the last six games and the defense has been good with Young, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brook Lopez on the floor together.
The Nets just inflicted what one prominent Celtics-watcher called "the worst Celtics loss in 3 1/2 years." They've actually been competitive throughout this 3-4 stretch since the 0-7 start, getting some decent productivity from Brook Lopez. But they're the anti-Celtics; any flicker of positivity gets snuffed out as soon as someone mentions the next draft.
Even when they beat Boston Sunday, they still have to deal with the fact that the Celtics get their pick. Even when they win, they lose. They're basically playing to ruin the pick that the Celtics get. Try and imagine getting yourself pumped up for that cause. "1-2-3, don't let Boston draft Dragan Bender!"
Dan Devine, Yahoo! Sports (28)
The Nets have veered closer to "bad" than "horrific" over the past couple of weeks, beating Houston, Atlanta and Boston, taking the Warriors to OT on the second night of a back-to-back, and hanging tough against Sacramento and Charlotte before falling by the wayside late. Lionel Hollins is to be commended for coaxing more competitive play out of his overmatched and underwhelming roster. That hasn't made Brooklyn much more watchable, though ... unless, of course, you're a Celtics fan. (Sunday, of course, being the exception.)
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (28)
Time. Brooklyn’s starting lineup has looked decent slotting in rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. As for the 0–7 start, well, at least that’s over.
Don’t look now, but the Nets have been playing better (that includes a win over the Hawks on Tuesday). So maybe they start racking up some wins? Probably not this week playing at Oklahoma City, at Cleveland, then hosting Detroit.
Blow it up and build around Lopez. Scratch that, just blow it up