The Nets are still in that low to middle 20’s with some pundits apparently giving them a break after a round trip to Mexico City with the accompanying altitude issues and intestinal distress, followed by three games in four games, including a back-to-back in Toronto. Three countries in a week!
Maybe that’s the reason that the Nets, who live and die by the 3-pointer, are the worst deep shooting team in the NBA since their trip to Mexico. As John Schuhmann points out, only Nik Stauskas has shown he can hit with regularity.
In general, the Nets have dropped a bit, but as Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report notes, their record is better than expected ... and Cleveland’s pick is worse. As for Wednesday morning, it’s 11th.
The Nets had the league's best December defense through their first five games this month, but have allowed 116 points per 100 possessions (to three top-10 offenses) as they've lost three straight. Nik Stauskas' (5-for-7 from 3-point range) Nets debut came a day late, because Thursday's loss to New York was winnable before Brooklyn missed its first 10 threes of the fourth quarter. With almost all their perimeter players going cold, they've been the league's worst 3-point shooting team since their trip to Mexico, not good when only the Rockets have attempted more of their shots from beyond the arc over that stretch.
You can look at the Nets' 11-18 record one of two ways: They're seven games under .500 and have the fifth-worst team in the Eastern Conference. Or you can say they have 11 wins, a total they didn't reach last season until March.
Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated (22)
The fact that Jahlil Okafor can’t even play for the Nets right now—over what Kenny Atkinson is calling a conditioning issue—makes me slightly less excited about this trade.
Chris Barnewall, CBS Sports (22)
Jahlil Okafor made his Nets debut in a loss to the Raptors. He played 23 minutes and scored 10 points. That also happens to be the only game he's played with them since being traded.
Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report (26)
We've given Spencer Dinwiddie plenty of deserved love in this space, but it's time we shift to another Brooklyn Nets player who's also contributing to a surprisingly respectable stretch of basketball without Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell.
It's no exaggeration to say we're watching the best run of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's career.
He put together a string of four consecutive double-figure scoring nights this month (something he's only done once before and never in a situation where the Nets needed his production this badly), and his energy as a defender and rebounder has legitimately won Brooklyn games.
He hauled in several key boards down the stretch of the Nets' win over Washington on Tuesday and is posting career-highs in points and rebounds per contest, all while battling an ankle injury over the past few games.
Note to the Cavs: Brooklyn's first-rounder may not be so hot. The Nets are closer to a playoff spot than they are to the East cellar.
AJ Neuharth-Keusch, USA Today (21)
Jahlil Okafor, who grew frustrated with his lack of playing time in Philadelphia, has only seen the floor once — a 23-minute, 10-point, four-rebound outing against Toronto on Friday — in six games since being traded to Brooklyn. When asked about the decision to continue to keep Okafor on the bench, coach Kenny Atkinson said the Nets need to help get him in "better condition" and "integrate him more into the system."
Gerald Bourget, Hoops Habit (22)
It’s been six games since Jahlil Okafor was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, and already the #FreeJah movement is back. But even though he’s only played in one game since the change of scenery, head coach Kenny Atkinson says it’s about getting back in game shape and learning the system first, rather than Okafor not being good enough to play for an 11-18 team.
However, we also shouldn’t overlook the Nets suffering their worst loss of the season — a 33-point rout at the hands of Toronto — in Okafor’s lone appearance, during which he finished with 10 points, four rebounds and a -21 plus/minus in just 23 minutes.