On first and second --maybe even the third-- reading of the schedule, things look bad. Those first 10 games, with all those contenders? Ugh! The 11 road games in the first 16 games? Double ugh!! And the 18 of the final 26 games away from Brooklyn? OMG.
But there are some positives...
--Back-to-backs. The Nets have 15 back-to-backs, down five from last year (but still none home-and-home). Only two teams have fewer and both have 14. Moreover, as NBC Sports points out, Nets opponents in those games are on a back-to-back 21 times, giving them a +6 advantage. Only the Knicks have a higher advantage.
--4-in-5. The Nets also play only one four-games-in-five-game stretch, from March 28 through April 1, with the opponents Miami, Orlando, Cleveland and New York, where players will sleep in their own beds. Only eight teams have none.
--The soft middle. Between the road heavy start and finish, the Nets will play 26 of 40 Games between November 29 and February 23, the start of the "circus trip," at home in Brooklyn. That's basically half the season. The longest road trip in that stretch is three games. There's also a six-game homestand, longest the season. Moreover, the homestand is preceded by an away game at the Garden. So, the Nets won't leave the New York area for two weeks. Five of the teams visiting Barclays will be playing at the opposite end of the country from their western home base. So if the Nets can get through the first 16 games, they'll get a bit of a respite.
--Continuity. The Nets will return four of five starters, their head coach and have two first round picks. The last time that happened was in 2006-07, when they returned all five starters --Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Nenad Krstic and had two first rounders, Marcus Williams and Josh Boone. Krstic, of course, went down December 22, underwent ACL surgery and was out of the year, making Mikki Moore the starting center. Obviously, this year's starting lineup is NOT at the level, but that team, hamstrung by Bruce Ratner's unwillingness to pay the luxury tax, had a particularly weak bench. It included Hassan Adams, Mile Ilic, 40-year-old Cliff Robinson, Bernard Robinson, Antoine Wright and Eddie House. They finished 41-41, losing in the second round to the Cavs.
Analytics and fan discussions aside, there are no guarantees. Teams have to play 82 games. There's no getting around that. Will be better than the pundits claim? Probably best to wait for the schedule to begin.