Marc Stein may be at the New York Times, but ESPN will continue its power rankings and is out Tuesday with one that compares every team to the Warriors, who are of course, No. 1
The rankings put the Nets at No. 28. Only Phoenix and Atlanta rank lower. That’s six places lower than Stein’s end-of-season rankings in April! Really?!? It’s all based on statistical projections.
Ian Begley’s analysis suggests the Nets have “emerged from the darkness,” but Kevin Pelton and Tom Haberstroh’s “real plus-minus projections (RPM)” rankings have them at 29.8 wins. (ESPN’s summer forecast had them at 26 wins and the Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas puts them at 28).
As part of their us vs. the Warriors angle, Pelton and Haberstroh project that Golden State would beat the Nets by 15.3 points in a “single head-to-head matchup on a neutral court,” giving Brooklyn only a 10.3 percent chance of a win. The Nets biggest weakness in that head-to-head? Pelton and Haberstroh say it’s Allen Crabbe “one of the worst contracts in the league” vs. Kevin Durant.
As for their “best asset,” it’s “time and patience.” Kevin Arnowitz advises “with few expectations that they’ll contend anytime soon, Nets players and staff can focus on rebuilding the franchise from the ground up and establishing a clear vision.”
Micah Adams also offers some advice on a trade: Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for restricted free agent Nerlens Noel. Adams thinks the often injured 23-year-old would fit well with the Nets (and indeed the Nets reportedly talked about acquiring him last year ... before they happily drafted Jarrett Allen.) Adams calls Noel a good “running mate” for D’Angelo Russell and another “high-upside reclamation project.”
Hard to believe the Nets would go for that one.