clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Power Rankings: Little improvement, some hope, say pundits

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

It’s Power Rankings time again! The first of the (mostly) Monday rankings are out, just ahead of Opening Night, which is actually Tuesday for the Rockets and Warriors and the Celtics and Cavaliers. Nets open against the Pacers, of course, on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

Most power ranking pundits have the Nets down near the bottom of the pile, lower even than where they finished last season, mid- to low 20’s. At the end of last year’s miserable 20-win season, before all the off-season improvements, most power rankings had them in the high 20’s.

The two highest rankings? John Schuhmann of (and the founder of NetsDaily) and Fred Kerber, the Post’s long-time NBA writer. They have Brooklyn at 24 and 21!

An editor’s note. ESPN, which canned Mark Stein, seems embarrassed that he’s no longer around. Their power rankings carry no byline. Stein, of course, has moved on to better things, aka The New York Times, which alas doesn’t do power rankings, at least of NBA teams.

Not all the national NBA pundits have posted preseason rankings, so we filled out our report with respected local writers’ opinions.

John Schuhman, (24)

The Nets were having a pretty good preseason until the Sixers declared Joel Embiid healthy enough to play last Wednesday. Brooklyn has cornered the market on interesting, non-All-Star guards/wings who can both shoot and dribble (to varying degrees of success). If they can cut down on turnovers and shoot better on open threes (only the Rockets attempted more last season), they be dangerous from night to night. The opportunity is there to get off to a good start, with eight of their first 10 games against teams unlikely to sniff the playoffs.

One Team, One Stat: Cleaning up mistakes

Anonymous, ESPN (28)

Projected 2017-18 record: 29-53

Last season: 20-62 | Missed playoffs

The Nets won 20 games last season, their fifth fewest since joining the NBA in 1976-77. The Nets have won fewer than 25 games in five of the past eight seasons. No other team has more than three such seasons over that span.

Matt Moore, CBS Sports (27)

The Nets will be pesky. They are well coached and splash 3's by the gallon. There's absolutely zero pressure on this team, which is always a good thing.

A.J. Neuharth-Keusch, USA Today (28)

After bringing in 2015 No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell from the Lakers, the Nets have a potential franchise player to build around, as well as some complementary pieces in Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert. It might not seem like much, but it’s a start.

Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated (29)*

There’s an old scouting phrase: “Cap space never scored a point or grabbed a rebound.” Brooklyn will put that maxim to the test after acquiring Timofey Mozgov’s Contract, DeMarre Carroll’s Contract and Allen Crabbe’s Contract this summer. There’s enough intrigue—headlined by D’Angelo Russell—to keep diehards interested for a month or two, but not enough to truly sell hope.

Fred Kerber, New York Post (21)

The Nets should be the best team — in New York. As they recover from the worst trade since Manhattan went for $24 in trinkets, they are woefully guard/wing heavy. They’ll miss Brook Lopez’s 20 points. Health is huge: they had ONE game last year with a healthy roster. Here’s D’Angelo Russell’s opportunity. They landed some key vets, notably DeMarre Carroll, who’ll make it interesting. They have a plan and a great teaching coach in Kenny Atkinson.

Gerald Bourget, FanSided (24)

This might be a tad high for a Brooklyn Nets team that’s won a combined 41 games over the last two seasons, but after landing D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll and even Timofey Mozgov this summer, Kenny Atkinson’s run-and-gun system could make for a deceptively competent team.

The Nets are going to shoot a ton of threes, they’re going to play at a breakneck pace and with long range shooters flanking Russell and a healthy Jeremy Lin in the backcourt, Brooklyn is finally getting close to being worth your attention — even as it takes its lumps in 2017-18.

Jake Pavorsky, (28)

The outlook for the Brooklyn Nets is a little bright, thanks in part to the deal making mastery of general manager Sean Marks. He was willing to take on the contract of Timofey Mozgov to bring in D'Angelo Russell, who still has the potential to be the team's point guard of the future. They acquired sharpshooter Allen Crabbe, a player they attempted to sign two summers ago, for essentially nothing.

There are certainly some pieces to build around going forward. But the Nets are still a world's away from competing, even in a weak Eastern Conference. Their team simply isn't deep enough with legitimate contributors.

Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle (28)

Last season: 20-62, did not make the playoffs

Key additions: D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Tyler Zeller, Jarrett Allen

On guards: If nothing else, the Nets will have one of the most interesting backcourts in the league with Russell and Jeremy Lin. It could work, with both more combo guards than pure, traditional point or shooting guards.

Overall: The Nets sought to speed up the rebuilding process, rather than wait until they have their own picks to reload the roster, but taking a chance on Russell. As always, they will play fast and hard and could surprise people if they stay healthier than last season.

Melissa Rohlin, San Antonio Express-News (27)

In a few years, this team could be good. But right now, it is a high-energy, losing squad.


  • Sports Illustrated didn’t do rankings per se, but wrote that in the East only the Bulls will be worse than the Nets, so we went with 29.