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ESPN: ‘Brooklyn’s title window looks wide open over the next three years’

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Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, which measure NBA teams’ chances for success over three seasons, have the Brooklyn Nets in the top position, mainly because of the Nets’ “Big Three.”

As Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks report...

For the first time in the 12-year history of our NBA Future Power Rankings, the Nets hold the top overall spot. Brooklyn ranked second in October 2019, fresh off signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency, but slipped to ninth last April, shortly after Kenny Atkinson’s departure as head coach. Above and beyond the addition of James Harden and cultivation of a strong bench, giving the Nets the top overall score for players, we also have to give credit to the job Steve Nash and his experienced coaching staff (with Mike D’Antoni and Jacque Vaughn as assistants) have done managing this team. Brooklyn’s title window looks wide open over the next three years.

The Nets had a rating of 78.8 out of a perfect 100. Not bad considering that from 2015 through 2016, the Nets were dead last in the semi-annual rankings. In October 2017, they inched up to No. 27, even with a 20-win season following a 21-win season.

The rankings are based on where teams stand in a variety of categories, including players, management, money, market and draft picks. No surprise that the Nets rank No. 1 in players and No, 30 in draft picks after the James Harden trade...

There are some surprises, like ranking the Nets management — Joe Tsai, Sean Marks and Steve Nash, etc. — seventh, behind among others the Clippers and Heat. Also, the Nets ranked 27th in the money category, which is based on “projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax.” While the Nets are in salary cap hell for the foreseeable future, there’s been no indication whatsoever that Tsai isn’t willing and able to pay the luxury tax. He was willing, for example, to take on James Harden contract with all its immediate and long-term financial consequences.

ESPN also ranks Brooklyn as the No. 3 market, behind the Knicks and Lakers. In the past, Brooklyn was ranked No. 6 (for reasons that still are head-scratching.)

Bobby Marks, who was assistant GM back in the bad old days, spoke about the Nets and the overall rankings...

Who’s got the old Nets position at the bottom of the pile? Jarrett Allen’s Cleveland Cavaliers. And who had the biggest jumps in the last year? The Knicks and Hornets.