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Power Rankings: Moving up

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Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The two Nets wins last week may have been against Orlando and Atlanta, two weak Eastern Conference opponents, but wins are wins and the power ranking pundits, for the most part, are taking notice of the Nets’ improved play.

The Nets who languished in mid-to-low 20’s in preseason rankings have jumped in the first week of Power Rankings. There are two outliers, one high,, which has the Nets at No. 14, the one low, ESPN (without Marc Stein ... and it shows) at No. 26. The rest have them between 19 and 23.

There are a few rankings missing, like CBS Sports. When they post, we will add to the mix.

John Schuhmann, (22)

The Nets are better equipped -- with more experienced ball-handlers -- to deal with the absence of Jeremy Lin (out for the season with a torn patella tendon in his right knee) than they were last year. Still, it's another brutal injury for a guy who would be a lot of fun to watch in this offense. D'Angelo Russell shot well (51 percent overall, 3-for-5 in the clutch) in Week 1, but the Nets' offense was at its best (scoring 127 points per 100 possessions) with Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert in the backcourt. The defense has been bad, but rookie Jarrett Allen has (the league's best hair and) the makings of a good rim protector, blocking five shots in less than 30 minutes.

Jose DeLeon, ESPN (26)

Jeremy Lin will miss the rest of the season with a right knee injury and will have played a total of 37 games the past two seasons, as he has dealt with various injuries. He played in 305 of a possible 328 games the previous four seasons.

Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated (20)

Russell looks legitimately awesome so far, and the Nets will need him now that Jeremy Lin’s done for the year with a torn patellar. Brooklyn should be scrappy this season.

Mark Strolman, NBC Sports (22)

D'Angelo Russell looks ready to be the face of the franchise, DeMarre Carroll looks rejuvenated and rookie Jarrett Allen looks like an early steal. Positive signs for the above-.500 Nets in the season's first week. (Last week: 27)

A.J. Neuharth-Keusch, USA Today (23)

The loss of Jeremy Lin for the season is devastating, but the Nets have already shown that they're much-improved over last season, and third-year point guard D'Angelo Russell looks comfortable in his new home, averaging 21 points on 51% shooting, seven assists and 4.3 rebounds.

Jake Pavorsky, N.J. com (14)

The NBA’s highest scoring offense belongs to Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets, who are currently averaging 124.3 points per game. However, they were dealt a crushing blow when guard Jeremy Lin was ruled out for the season after rupturing his patella tendon.

Chris Manning, FanSided (19)

Three games into the 2017-18 season, the Nets have already done something that took them until March last season: winning two games in a row. Yes, the two wins came against the Magic and Hawks — two of the league’s worst teams. But wins are wins. They all count the same.

The biggest bright spot for Brooklyn this week has to be D’Angelo Russell. So far, he’s showing an improved handle, doing a little of everything in Kenny Atkinson’s offense and more poise than he did in either of his two years with the Lakers. And late in games, he hasn’t moved away from taking key shots and leading the team in key moments. When the Nets acquired him, the potential for him to be this are why.

Jeremy Lin’s season-ending injury is concerning moving forward, as he was likely their best player and a stabilizing force on a young team and alongside Russell. But this team probably won’t go down without playing hard every night. That counts for something.

Jonas Nader, RotoWorld (23)

The season-ending injury to Jeremy Lin was such a buzzkill, as I was really interested to see how well he would mesh with D’Angelo Russell. Speaking of the former No. 2 overall pick, he’s been lights out and the Lakers are probably having second thoughts about trading him — through three games he’s averaging 21.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 triples. His 30-point game in the opener was also tied with Nate Archibald (1976) for the most points by a Nets player in their debut in team history.