The Nets got high marks for their 2-1 road trip and their ability to keep their heads above water despite injury after injury after injury, big and small, devastating and nagging, but in the end, there was little change. The Nets stayed in the 22-to-26 range.
The rankings though aren’t what they used to be. Marc Stein was let go by ESPN and Matt Moore is no longer doing the rankings for CBS Sports. John Schuhmann continues his fine work at NBA.com but alas, a lot of what we read on Mondays isn’t what it used to be. Not to mention there are fewer of them. (That’s our ranking. So there.)
Averaging 1.5 fewer live-ball turnovers (recorded as opponent steals) per game than they did last season, the Nets should be improved both offensively and defensively. But (though they're allowing a league-low 0.97 points per possession in transition), they've taken a step backward on defense, and have allowed 111 points per 100 possessions over their last 10 games. Only the Heat and Clippers have allowed their opponents to take a lower percentage of their shots from the restricted area or 3-point range, but only the Kings have allowed their opponents to shoot better on the shots in between, and Brooklyn ranks in the bottom five in opponent turnover percentage for the second straight season. The last season the Nets were a better-than-average defensive team (2006-07) was their last full season with Jason Kidd (as a player).
A silver lining to the injury of D'Angelo Russell has been the emergence of Spencer Dinwiddie as an impact player. Now the starter with Russell out, Dinwiddie has since averaged a team-high 16.2 points and 8.0 assists per game and currently ranks seventh in Real Plus-Minus among point guards.
The Nets and Hawks worked together to play one of the most unwatchable games of the season, as Atlanta won a defense-less blowout 114-102. That is a shame, Brooklyn has the potential to be fun at times.
The Nets have won just one game in their last five, and when they beat the Grizzlies it helped lead to coach David Fizdale getting fired. Brooklyn has been a scrappy team this season and in their last five games have averaged 107.3 points per 100 on offense (ninth best in the NBA in that stretch). It’s especially impressive with both Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell out injured.
The Nets are the only team under .500 that plays consistently watchable basketball, so we have to give them credit for that. Our lives would be marginally more boring without them.
The Nets go on the road to Mexico City this week, where they'll take on the Thunder and the Heat on Thursday and Saturday.
The Brooklyn Nets were already without D'Angelo Russell following knee surgery, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson missed time this past week with a sore ankle. Hardly deep to begin with, the Nets have to lose a bit of ground with key injuries like that limiting the rotation.
Spencer Dinwiddie has been solid, though, and the Nets have actually outscored their opponents on a per-possession basis when he's been on the floor over the last seven games. Joe Harris and Trevor Booker have produced even bigger positive net ratings in that span.
The on-off stats are always a little sketchy without context, particularly over a small sample. But it's encouraging that three of Brooklyn's role-fillers (Dinwiddie in particular) can hold their own.