The weekly power rankings are out and the consensus top two teams, Boston and Golden State, both beat the Nets in the last week, but Brooklyn didn’t give up. So despite D’Angelo Russell’s surgery and a 1-2 record, most of the pundits had the Nets remaining steady at No. 25.
So if there’s no movement, why do Power Rankings? Because the pundits usually have a wealth of fun facts to impart in making their arguments, starting with John Schuhmann of NBA.com (who, if you didn’t know, founded this site!)
The Nets went down to the final minutes against both the Celtics and Warriors last week, showing some moxie in almost erasing a 28-point deficit against the champs. Spencer Dinwiddie has been the reason they've been able to withstand the losses of Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell better than they were able to withstand the loss of Lin last season. The Nets have been 15.5 points per 100 possessions better with Dinwiddie on the floor than with him off the floor, his assist-turnover ratio of 5.38 ranks second among 266 players who have averaged at least 15 minutes in five or more games, and it's 7.00 (35/5) in his five games as a starter. Allen Crabbe (14-for-27 from 3-point range last week) is heating up, maybe because Dinwiddie has joined him in the starting lineup. Crabbe has shot 25-for-49 (51 percent) on threes with Dinwiddie on the floor and 11-for-20 (55 percent) off Dinwiddie passes.
Brooklyn cut Golden State's lead to four points with 2:38 left in the game on Sunday, but their bevy of 3-point attempts wasn't enough to completely erase their deficit. The Nets attempted 48 3-pointers in the loss, their most in franchise history. -- ESPN Stats & Information
Chris Barnewall, CBS Sports (25)
The year of Spencer Dinwiddie is here! He's scored 20-plus points in a handful of games this season and has even started a few times. He also had a Twitter war with the NBA's official Twitter account and that was just fun.
Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated (23)
The bright side of D’Angelo Russell’s knee injury is the uncaging of Spencer Dinwiddie, who is proving he can do more than just tweet (seriously, he’s a top-five tweeter).
AJ Neuharth-Keusch, USA Today (26)
More bad news for the Nets, who announced Friday that D'Angelo Russell will be out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The third-year guard has been Brooklyn's best player during his first year with the team, averaging 20.9 points, 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report (25)
D'Angelo Russell scored 11 fourth-quarter points to help the Nets beat the Trail Blazers in Portland on Friday, but Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson liked his team's defense even better.
"We stayed with it and we kept defending," he told Greg Logan of Newsday. "I thought it was our defense that really kept us in the game."
The Blazers managed only 45 points after halftime in that game, and Brooklyn held Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to a combined 36 points on 13-of-32 shooting.
Atkinson's team is allowing 106.7 points per 100 possessions this season, down from last year's 108.0, and that defense will have to carry Brooklyn with Russell now set to miss time because of a knee bruise he suffered against the Jazz on Saturday.
It'll also help if Spencer Dinwiddie's transformation into a legitimate rotation player is real. He's shown far greater burst and scoring touch as Russell's backup than he did at any previous NBA stop.
Taking Russell's place with the first unit, the 24-year-old point guard posted 12 points and 11 assists in a close loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. That's a good start.
There will be more power rankings posted later. Don’t expect much different when they do.