Power ranking pundits don’t know what to make of the Nets. They’re not the worst team the NBA. NO one thinks that. But they wonder if the Nets early successes are short-lived, particularly with Jeremy LIn out (at least) two weeks and Brook Lopez on a rest schedule.
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports has them at No. 24, Matt Moore of CBS Sports at No. 29, the high and low among the pundits.
The Nets have been inconsistent on both ends of the floor, but the offense surely suffers more with their top two point guards - Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez - both out with leg injuries. They've scored just 95 points per 100 possessions in 117 minutes with neither on the floor thus far, but they got enough stops and hustle plays from Trevor Booker down the stretch against Detroit on Wednesday (after Lin got hurt) to get win No. 2. This week's games are all winnable, but Brook Lopez will probably sit one of the first two (a Tuesday-Wednesday back-to-back).
Losing Jeremy Lin is a gut punch for a young team that felt the need to hold Brook Lopez out of the season's second game because the Nets don't want to subject Lopez to back-to-backs after all his foot woes. Brooklyn actually hung in there gamely Friday night in a narrow loss to Charlotte in its first game without Lin, but a five-game road trip -- with four of the stops out West after Wednesday's MSG duel with the Knicks and another back-to-back mixed in -- is going to be a serious test for Kenny Atkinson's youthful crew.
Jeremy Lin is out for a couple weeks with a hamstring, and with Greivis Vasquez already out injured the Nets offense is going to struggle. Brook Lopez has played well when he gets help, Trevor Booker hustles, but without those guards to create Brooklyn is in for a rough stretch. Cross-town showdown at Madison Square Garden this week.
I keep having pangs of "What if the Nets aren't bad?" because I think about Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin being legit NBA players. But they're just so unproven. I will say this: the Nets being forgettable is an overstatement. There's something interesting percolating here, if far from a good team.
Brook Lopez is taking threes, the Nets are finding ways to score, and this isn’t anywhere near as bad as we thought it would be. Not yet.
We've been banging this drum for a while, people. The Brooklyn Nets aren't that bad.
They've won a pair of games so far, and new head coach Kenny Atkinson has somehow figured out a way to play at a top-10 pace while still heavily featuring the lumbering Brook Lopez. And in a true exhibition of how cagey the Nets can be, Lopez fired up a ridiculous eight triples against Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Lopez hit four of them during the first half (he'd made four in his entire NBA career prior to that), drew Drummond out into space and opened up the rest of the offense in a surprising win.