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Nets No. 1 in Zach Lowe’s annual League Pass ratings ... again

NBA: Preseason-Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

They may have disappointed last year. They may have had a chaotic and ultimately soul-searing off-season (at least for fans) but the Nets are No. 1 in Zach Lowe’s annual League Pass rankings. They are must-see TV.

In spite of all the bad news — or maybe because of it — Lowe thinks there is no team in the NBA more watchable this season than the Brooklyn Nets with their new “Big Three,” one of the best players in the universe, the best broadcast team (do not @ me!) and that subjective “zeitgeist” described by Lowe as “When you talk about this team at parties, do people slink away?”

The Nets finished above the No. 2 Golden State Warriors, the No. 3 Memphis Grizzlies, the No. 4 Denver Nuggets and the No. 5 New Orleans Pelicans. As Lowe will quickly point out, these are not power rankings. The Los Angeles Lakers are No. 8, the New York Knicks No. 23.

As Lowe notes, this is the third straight year for the Nets in the No. 1 slot although this year, it may be the team’s uncertainty that will draw eyeballs.

This team could be gone in 30 games — boring, bad, an entire era demolished. Irving could find new reasons to be the basketball player who doesn’t play basketball. Ben Simmons could melt — flinching at the threat of contact, wilting under Hack-a-Ben, holding a prolonged missed free throw contest with Nic Claxton. (Claxton is 6-of-25 from the line in the postseason.) All that could push Kevin Durant to renew his allegedly dormant trade request, at which point the Barclays Center may as well collapse into a sinkhole.


The soul-sapping melodrama can make you forget: This might work. They might be happy. They could be redeemed. They might be unstoppable on offense, Simmons tapping into his inner Draymond Green with endless shooting around him. They will take risks and innovate to survive on defense, and there is night-to-night joy in watching a team sink its teeth into that challenge.

More likely, Lowe thinks the Nets will be good, but not great “run-of-the-mill good — a playoff team, but not strong enough to lift the stench of self-inflicted misery.” Okay, we get it.

Lowe also reveals the Nets new alternate court, an ABA throwback to match the alternate uniforms...

“Admit it,” Lowe concludes. “You can’t wait to watch this team.”