Most power rankings get done before Monday night. By that point this week, the Nets had won five straight, hadn’t played and beat the Lakers. So there’s a lot of positives in the rankings, but many of the pundits had held back just a little. So the Nets are still stuck in the 20’s even though as of Wednesday morning, they currently have the longest winning streak in the NBA.
As always, the best insight and richest stats come from John Schuhmann, founder of NetsDaily (all heads bow).
The biggest jump was four places, by both Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report.
The Nets rank 30th defensively (more than 117 points allowed per 100 possessions) over the last nine days, but they have their first five-game winning streak since April of 2015, because they’ve simply gone nuts offensively. After a defensive win (in overtime) over Toronto to end their eight-game losing streak, their offense has gotten more efficient with every game, scoring a ridiculous 134 points per 100 possessions in weekend wins over the Wizards and Hawks without the league’s best 3-point shooter in December (Allen Crabbe). Spencer Dinwiddie signed a contract extension two days after scoring a career-high 39 points in Philly, and has been making a living at the line (41 free throw attempts over the last four games). D’Angelo Russell has also had a couple of big games and has registered a team-best plus-47 over the winning streak, with the Nets having allowed 15.8 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor (102.3) than they have with him off the floor (118.1).
With their fifth straight victory Sunday over Atlanta, the Nets extended their longest winning streak since March 2015, the eve of their last playoff appearance. All the while, the bugaboo of close losses has passed, with Brooklyn on the happy end of nail-biters, including a gutsy win at Philadelphia on Wednesday. With four of their next five at home -- their only road date at Chicago -- the Nets have a chance to climb into the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Spencer Dinwiddie dropping his career high in Philadelphia and then getting a contract extension the next day is what dreams are made of.
Don’t look now but the Brooklyn Nets have won five straight games since their eight-game losing streak. With wins over Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and now Atlanta over the last two weeks, the Nets have played themselves back into the playoff race nearly 40 percent of the way through their season. Brooklyn is only 13-18, but they’re just two games behind Orlando for the 8-seed. That’s the benefit of existing in a conference in which six teams are fighting for eight playoff spots. I mentioned above in the Hawks section that the Nets currently reside 10th in offensive rating after their 144-point outburst Sunday against Atlanta. They’ve been steadily moving up this ranking on offense during this win streak.
They’ve added 1.8 points per 100 possessions to their season offensive rating during this five-game winning streak. Spencer Dinwiddie has lead the way for the Nets averaging 24.6 points per game on 52.0/39.1/83.7 shooting splits during this stretch. He continues to come up big for them, which is a big reason they just agreed to a three-year contract extension that got Dinwiddie PAID over the next three seasons. The Nets could end up being one of the best stories in the NBA this season. Left for dead years ago after a disastrous trade, Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson have built this team into fighters. Let’s hope they continue fighting for a playoff spot all season long out of merit and not just by default because it’s the East.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s recent three-year, $34 million contract extension gives some stability in the Nets’ backcourt; it will be interesting to see how that deal affects the Brooklyn future of backcourt mate D’Angelo Russell. The arc of Dinwiddie’s story has been inspirational; he has beaten a career-threatening ACL tear in college to become a second-round flier, then rose from the G League to become a player now averaging more than 17 points per game.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s career-high 39 points gave the Nets an impressive 127-124 win against the Sixers on Wednesday, and we should all support his characterization of the effort, which he labeled “a hood 40”, as the best new way to round up.
This was comfortably Brooklyn’s most successful week of the year, as it racked up Ws against Toronto, New York and Philadelphia. Though the 11-18 record doesn’t look like much, the Nets are at least trending up for the first time in a month.