clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Your Brooklyn Nets - Top 20 Team!

New, comments

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Power Rankings are coming in, as they do every Monday around this time and for the first time in more than a year, your Brooklyn Nets are a top 20 team, according to the most recognized pundits.

The themes this week are twofold: 1) the Nets aren’t as bad as predicted and 2) Kenny Atkinson is the reason. Atkinson gets praise in most of the rankings for taking a team with limited talent and limited horizons (at least according to them) and making them respectable.

Some other interesting points from the pundits: Matt Moore of CBS Sports thinks that the Nets rise is devaluing the first round pick swap with Boston. He thinks that could lead to Danny Ainge dealing it. Marc Stein of ESPN also suggests that at this point, Atkinson has to be considered a strong candidate for coach of the month.

One other thing that’s less positive: the Nets opponent Monday night are the Clippers who most everyone thinks is currently the NBA’s No. 1 team.

Here ya go. Rankings completed before this weekend are marked with an asterisk.

John Schuhmann, (18)

At this point, the Nets' only healthy point guard is a not-quite 6-foot, undrafted rookie - Yogi Ferrell - who they signed on Wednesday. But they scored 114 points per 100 possessions (with six guys averaging double-figures) in their two wins last week. After a really rough start to the season (4-for-23 in his first five games), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been filling up the boxscore and providing a positive impact. In their five November games, the Nets have been at their best (plus-16.2 points per 100 possessions) with him on the floor.

Marc Stein, ESPN (18)

The Nets are 4-5. The Nets are 3-0 when Brook Lopez scores at least 25 points. The Nets are making Kenny Atkinson a legit contender for Eastern Conference coach of the month honors. It's all almost as difficult to process as this surprising stat that came up around the office before the Nets visited their crosstown rivals last Wednesday night: Brooklyn's Jeremy Lin amazingly played only 15 games at Madison Square Garden as a Knick. That's it. That's as long as Linsanity lasted.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports (20)

Pesky Nets strike again! This team is so not-terrible, the Celtics might be under some pressure to actually deal that pick before it loses too much value. Who'd have thought? Kenny Atkinson is doing work in Brooklyn.

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (19)

That this team is pushing .500 with this roster (and Jeremy Lin still out) is a credit to what coach Kenny Atkinson is doing. Granted, the Nets have yet to beat a team over .500, but they are beating teams closer to their level, which is more than was expected. Tough week ahead with the Clippers, Lakers, and Thunder all on the road, then the Trail Blazers at home.

Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (18)

Not only have the Nets been very passable, they’re doing it while playing at the league’s second-fastest pace. We’ll see how long they can sustain it, but Kenny Atkinson’s done an incredible job out of the gate.

Moke Hamilton, Basketball Insiders (21)*

With everyone in the world expecting the Nets to be a lottery team, let’s acknowledge the brilliant job Kenny Atkinson has done coaching these guys. And let’s also acknowledge that the Nets are proving that, despite the names on the back of the jersey, if you play with effort, you’ll have a chance to win in the NBA.

A.J. Neuharth-Keusch, USA TODAY (25)

Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report (25)*

I enjoy the Brooklyn Nets.

There, I said it.

Even without Jeremy Lin, who's missed time with a hamstring injury, Brooklyn's ball movement, pace and affinity for the long bomb under head coach Kenny Atkinson make this team watchable.

And not just because Brook Lopez keeps shooting 26-footers.

Through its first eight games, Brooklyn shot the third-most threes in the league and passed the ball more times per game than all but one other team.