Zach Lowe doesn't do power rankings, but the ESPN writer does like some things he's seen from the Nets lately, calling them "almost watchable" the last two weeks. That's indeed high praise for a team who's fallen on hard times.
Here's what he wrote about the odd chemistry between Brook Lopez and Shane Larkin...with some encomiums for others...
Don't tell anyone, but the Nets have almost been watchable over the past two weeks! The Joe Johnson buyout cleared time for a revived and confident Markel Brown. Chris McCullough is finally healthy, Thomas Robinson jumps a lot. And Shane Larkin jets around like Sonic the Hedgehog off the bench.
Larkin and Lopez have developed the most random two-man chemistry since Shaun Livingston and Luke Walton made the give-and-go sing for an otherwise forgettable post-LeBron Cleveland team:
Lopez would be justified hunting shots for an aimless bunch, but he has doubled his assist average in making a real effort to get other guys going.
And he calls Thaddeus Young one of the NBA's most watchable players, explaining...
Young is one of the league's wackiest shot makers, tossing in junk balls from that in-between space all those hip 3-point-shooting power forwards have abandoned. Some players need space to shoot. Young doesn't. He just needs time, and he buys it with dancing footwork bopping just a hair off the NBA's usual rhythms.
It doesn't matter if defenders are jersey-to-jersey with Young as he spins into his lefty jump hook; he releases the ball with his body turned away from the rim -- and almost before he even starts his jump. The funky timing throws defenders off; by the time they leap to contest the shot, it's already swishing through the net. Young creates separation on the vertical plane -- in the air -- instead of on the horizontal plane, where we normally imagine spacing. The ball's up, and you're down.
Young has hit 51 percent of his shots from the post this season, one of the best marks in the league, per Synergy Sports, and a preposterous number for a guy who doesn't look like a post scorer.
On the pick-and-roll, he no longer pops for 3s, and he can't really dive to the rim with Brook Lopez eating up space there. Young drifts into open space near the foul line and plops in soft little floaters. And sometimes, he just does goofy stuff, all his limbs flailing in the wrong directions, only for the ball to go in:
It's almost enough to get you through another day as a Nets fan.