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THE TRIP: Nets see five games as chance to grow, bond

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have regressed during their recent three-game losing streak. They started the season with a 3-2 record -- the first time they’ve been above .500 since 2014.

Since then, they’ve lost three straight and have not won on the road in three attempts. Now, they face a grueling schedule: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Portland and Salt Lake City, all in eight days. It will be the Nets first big test. By November 11, the Nets and their fans will have a good idea of which way the season is going.

Regardless, Spencer Dinwiddie, who has emerged as one of the team’s leaders, and head coach Kenny Atkinson see the upcoming five-game road-trip as a chance for the team to grow.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” the L.A. native Dinwiddie said of the road-trip. “It’s going to be a time for us to bond similar to the way we did during training camp. Spend some time together and grow as a unit, grow as brothers and hopefully get some wins.”

The Nets started training camp at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. The work came in the gym, but they received valuable lessons off the court by hanging out with one another along with the midshipmen. It was a good bonding experience for the young Nets team, who Dinwiddie feels can prosper from this road-trip despite the poor record on the road. Head coach Kenny Atkinson agrees.

“We have a great chance on this road-trip. These are great team-building trips. We gotta pull together on the road and we will,” said Kenny Atkinson after Tuesday’s defeat.

The team’s quality of play has diminished and talk of defense is once again dominated some historically bad numbers, but there’s zero panic inside the locker room.

“It’s definitely not a situation where we’re hitting the panic button of any kind. We just have to continue to go forward and re-capture what we were doing,” said Dinwiddie.

“Of course,” Dinwiddie replied when he was asked if it’s still a ‘Nets against the world’ mentality. “We’re 3-5, we have 74 games left, so try and finish 77-5. That’s our approach, our mentality. Every game we go in expecting to win and fight to win.”

That was the mentality entering the season and that still appears to be the mentality. However, the five-game road-trip very well might determine where this team is headed even though it’s early in the season.

They’ve yet to win a game on the road and they’re currently 3-5 with the upcoming games coming against the Lakers, Suns, Nuggets, Trail Blazers and Jazz. There are zero ‘should win’ or ‘shouldn’t win’ games with this Nets team. It all depends on the momentum and rhythm, as we’ve seen them come up with an impressive win over the Cavaliers and then falter three games they probably could’ve had.

At the end of the day, it’s important to temper expectations as this is a very young team that is prioritizing development/improvement over winning. Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson made sure that was/is the message for the season.

With that being said, it doesn’t make it any easier to accept losing especially after such an exciting start.

They’ll head out on the team plane Thursday and begin the trip in Los Angeles against D’Angelo Russell’s old team. There will be plenty of eyes on him.