It was fun while it lasted... the Nets power rankings surge, but a four-game losing streak has consequences and Brooklyn, which was as high as No. 18 a week ago, is now back near the bottom, although some pundits have been kind, citing the continuing absence of Jeremy Lin.
It will be nice to see what this team can do with Lin and now Caris LeVert. Could get interesting ... again. So here ya go. It should be noted that three of the pundits —Moke Hamilton, Andrew Lynch and Grant Hughes— put their list together Friday
The Nets certainly miss Jeremy Lin, who has now missed the last eight games with a hamstring injury, on offense. Their pace-and-space system was built around his ability to get to the basket and to the free throw line. The question is how much impact he'd have on a defense that has allowed a brutal 121 points per 100 possessions as the Nets have lost four straight games. Their rotations are often too slow to recover from their aggressiveness on the perimeter, but improvement can start in transition. According to SportVU, Brooklyn opponents have taken 15.1 percent of their shots in the first six seconds of the shot clock, the third highest rate in the league.
If you felt sorry for the Raptors when they had to play host to Golden State on the night after losing at Cleveland, spare a thought for the poor Nets. They're the only other team scheduled to play the last two NBA champions on consecutive days this season and right before Christmas to boot. On Dec. 22, Brooklyn plays host to Golden State. On Dec. 23, it's Nets at Cavs. Brooklyn, by the way, has plenty of pressing concerns after allowing 127, 124, 124 and 129 points in its last four games, all of them L's.
They've given up over 120 points in each of their last four games, all losses. Brooklyn's still pesky, but it offers absolutely not resistance defensively.
The Nets have lost four in a row and gone 2-6 since Jeremy Lin went down, their offense is just not the same with him sidelined. Of course, their defense has been a disaster of late as well and he’s not going to help as much on that end — the Nets try to be aggressive and pressure on the wings but they don’t have personnel to do that.
Usually, when a skilled veteran is mired in a rebuild, we clamor for a trade to a better location. Brook Lopez's time with the Nets feels like a different situations somehow. The NBA's unsung hero isn't going anywhere, because he's the perfect leader to shepherd a new generation — you know, once Brooklyn actually has draft picks to use.
Well, four straight losses (albeit to quality opponents) and it looks like the “Nets might be OK“ bubble has begun to burst. Still, this is way better than anyone was giving Brooklyn credit for a month ago.
The five-game road trip concludes with Friday’s visit to the Thunder and they’re 1-3. Sean Kilpatrick and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have each had their fair share of high moments, but without Jeremy Lin, the Nets will be hard-pressed to win consistently.
A rough week on the road notwithstanding (1-2 since we last ranked with back-to-back losses against the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers), things have gone better for the Brooklyn Nets than anyone could have expected.
So in the interest of preserving culture and chemistry, trading Brook Lopez probably has less appeal to this franchise than it has in a while, which is a shame because Lopez's new three-point stroke transforms his game and, more importantly, ratchets up his value.