In terms of power rankings, this was a bad week for the Nets, with most pundits putting them between 28 and 30. But on the other hand, the Nets got two players back from injury, first Caris LeVert, then Jeremy Lin. And they made the Rockets match on Donatas Motiejunas.
The Nets can get three-happy at times, but clearly made an effort to get into the paint more often last week, the first time they've taken more than half of their shots in the paint in three straight games. Of course, Wednesday's wire-to-wire win over Denver was sandwiched by another brutal third quarter against Washington and a thumping at the hands of the Spurs. They could get their primary paint attacker back on Monday, as Jeremy Lin, having missed the last 17 games, is listed as "probable" for their visit to Houston.
The Nets are in Houston on Monday night, and Jeremy Lin is slated to make his comeback after missing Brooklyn's last 17 games (4-13) with an ankle issue. Good timing for storytellers, since the occasion will reunite Lin and his former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, while it's obviously huge for Lin's new team, which relies on him to run the offense. New Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has instead been forced to survive without his preferred quarterback for 40 days. The Donatas Motiejunas saga, meanwhile, means Brooklyn is now 0-for-3 in restricted free agency in the Sean Marks era, but that was an offer sheet you suspect Marks knew from the beginning that Houston would match.
The Nets are a great test for how sound of a game your team plays. If you play sound, you'll do what the Spurs did, and wipe them out. Screw around with them, and it'll bite you in the rear. Jeremy Lin's return this week should help.
Jeremy Lin is expected to make his return this week, after missing 17 games with an injured ankle. The Nets have gone 4-13 without their offensive spark plug and they desperately need his return. Smart gamble by GM Sean Marks trying to land Donatas Motiejunas, who knows if it would have worked out (Houston matched the offer) but with the Nets limited resources to rebuild that’s the kind of roll of the dice he needs to take.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated (30)
This is actually the first time this season the Nets have come in last, so that’s kind of a success.
Moke Hamilton, Basketball Insiders (26)
The bad news? The Rockets decided to match the offer sheet tendered to Donatas Motiejunas. The good news? The Nets were paid a visit by the Nuggets, whom Kenny Atkinson’s team beat to get just their second win over the past three weeks.
Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report (28)
The Brooklyn Nets gave it their best shot, but the Houston Rockets matched their offer sheet to Donatas Motiejunas. That whole situation is a mess now, with D-Mo refusing to take his physical with the Rockets, but all the intrigue surrounding that element of the transaction obscures another: Motiejunas probably would have been Brooklyn's second-best player.
That's not saying much, as Brook Lopez has been toiling alone for most of the season. But Motiejunas would have been a good get for a team that doesn't have many avenues for improvement.