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First rankings of post-Deron Nets not optimistic

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As they say, the off-season glow, the free agency honeymoon, lasts only until November when they actually have to play the games.  And in the first rankings of teams after the summer flurry, the Nets are being portrayed as much weaker than they were last April when they just squeaked into the playoffs ... and were sent fishing by the Hawks.

NBC Sports, Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated all think the Nets are lottery-bound and as any Net fan can tell you, that would be disastrous since Brooklyn owes Boston its first round in the 2016 Draft which is seen as very solid up top.  Read 'em and weep ... or laugh.

NBC Sports ranks the Nets 23rd, the most generous of the three.

Nets (38-44). They finally got out from under the Deron Williams contract and people around the team say that alone will bring the players closer together. The Nets have a nice front line with Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez, but defense and consistent play out of the guards remain a question mark (no offense intended, Jarrett Jack)

Kevin Ding, the former Laker beat writer, has the Nets 24th --below the Knicks-- and he, too, questions the guard rotation in his Bleacher Report analysis...

24. Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Jack and Wayne Ellington are respected pros in this league, and the Nets expect to have better chemistry. But how often can you realistically plan on Jack and Ellington winning their guard matchups? Once per month?

Sports Illustrated doesn't explain its ranking of the Nets as the fifth worst team, ahead of perennial cellar dwellers, the Timberwolves, 76rs, Knicks and Nuggets. Probably best they don't.

Locally, the Examiner's Greg Hrinya predicted little change from last season... 36 wins instead of 38 ... and a third place finish in the division...

Instead of upgrading, they reloaded; which was necessary because of the team’s dire salary cap/draft pick straits.

Although not necessarily popular at the time, King’s willingness to move on from Williams signals a shift toward responsible team building and ends a rather unsuccessful era. King is now cleaning up the mess he is partially responsible for creating, but better late than never.

The team will rely on players in their low-to-mid 20’s to create a more athletic and defensive team. This group is more in the mold of Lionel Hollins, and the very least, the locker room will be better. Williams was the poster child of the sort of overpaid, underperforming (perhaps ambivalent) star culture parading through Barclays Center over the last three years.