Even before their blowout of the Kings on Monday afternoon, power rankers had begun to take notice of what they were doing ... to a certain extent.
Those who put together power rankings seem to take one of two roads to their compilation: who’s hot at the moment or who has the best record. Sometimes, if the pundits are lucky, a team will be both, but what of the Nets who have been hot now for nearly six weeks, since December 6, but are still just above .500? They’ve moved up, of course, but despite their wins, their 17-5 record over that stretch, they can’t seem to break into the top 10.
Khadrice Rollins of SI has them at 11 while on the other end, Zach Harper of The Athletic has them four spots lower.
Here ya go...
The Nets have climbed above .500 (and into sixth place in the East) with a three-game winning streak featuring miraculous comebacks in Houston (from an 11-point deficit with less than four minutes left in regulation) and Orlando (from a 21-point deficit). Those were the kinds of turnarounds that the Nets were on the wrong side of several weeks ago, and they’ve turned their season around without improving all that significantly on either end of the floor. As they started the season 8-18, they were 4-12 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes. As they’ve won 16 of their last 21, they’re 10-2 in games that were within five in the last five. D’Angelo Russell’s inability to get to the basket or the free throw line make it difficult for him to be consistent; He had 74 points against the Celtics and Magic last week and only five of those 74 came in the restricted area (four) or on free throws (one). But his ability to bounce back from games when he doesn’t have it and is on the bench down the stretch (as was the case in Houston) is a clear sign of maturity.
Remember when the knock on the Nets was their inability to close out games? In 2019, the Nets rank second overall in net rating during clutch minutes -- the last five minutes of games when the margin is five points or fewer -- and are 4-0 in these nail-biters. Sitting at the No. 6 position in the East, Brooklyn now plays seven of its next 10 games at Barclays Center, including home tilts against Orlando, New York and Chicago (twice).
What a week for Brooklyn. First, the redemption win against the Celtics on Monday after losing to them on Jan. 7. Then two straight huge road wins that featured Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell coming up clutch.
Get familiar now, because this team will be in the postseason.
As the Brooklyn Nets ride a 16-5 wave over their previous 21 games, let’s take a look at what Sean Marks has done since he took over the Brooklyn Nets. The turnaround of the roster and the direction of the organization is pretty remarkable. The Nets went from being fleeced laughingstocks to a dangerous opponent almost every night. They currently sit sixth in the East playoff race, and while it’s too early to call them a lock, their competition below them certainly makes them look pretty likely. So let’s look at every major change Marks has made to this roster since taking over in mid-February of 2016:
- Waived Andrea Bargnani and Joe Johnson in the first two weeks.
- Hired Kenny Atkinson as the coach in April of 2016.
- Signed Jeremy Lin to a three-year deal.
- Traded Thaddeus Young for Caris LeVert and a future second-round pick.
- Signed Joe Harris to a two-year minimum contract.
- Signed Spencer Dinwiddie in December of 2016 after Chicago waived him in October.
- Acquired Andrew Nicholson’s contract and the pick that became Jarrett Allen from Washington for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough.
- Drafted Jarrett Allen.
- Traded Brook Lopez and the pick that was Kyle Kuzma for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov’s contract.
- Acquired DeMarre Carroll and the picks that became Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs for Justin Hamilton.
- Acquired Allen Crabbe for Andrew Nicholson’s contract.
- Traded Trevor Booker for Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, and a future second-round pick.
- Moved Mozgov’s contract for Dwight Howard, then waived Howard.
- Moved Jeremy Lin’s contract to Atlanta for second-round pick options in the future.
- Acquired Darrell Arthur, Kenneth Faried, and a future first for Isaiah Whitehead.
- Moved Arthur for Jared Dudley and a second.
- Re-signed Joe Harris to a two-year, $16 million deal.
- Gave Dinwiddie a three-year extension.
These are all small and medium moves, but they all completely makeup the positivity and success of this current Nets team. It also leaves them entirely flexible this summer while still having some future picks to use. Marks has been nothing short of brilliant in an impossible situation and the Nets are in a great position both short-term and long-term. He’s done all of this in under two years. Yes, Danny Ainge fleeced the previous regime, but Marks has all but corrected that.
The Nets are 16-5 in their last 21 games. They are 9-1 at home, which is tied for the second-best home record in the league since December 7th, trailing only the Nuggets, who are 11-1. Of their five losses since Dec 7, four of them have been against the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, with three of those four defeats on the road (at Toronto, at Boston, and at Milwaukee).
D’Angelo Russell held down the fort with averages of 24.0 points and 6.9 assists on 49.7 percent shooting during Spencer Dinwiddie’s nine-game slump (in which he averaged 10.9 points on 35.9 percent shooting) from Dec. 28 to Jan. 14. Russell’s run culminated with 34 points in Monday’s 109-102 win over the Celtics.
Then, finally, Dinwiddie broke out with 25 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and OT of Wednesday’s thrilling 145-142 win against Houston.
Brooklyn is 6-2 in its last eight games.
As the Power Ranking stragglers post their compilations in next day or two, we will update things.