With Brooklyn going 8-2 over the last 10 games, tied for the best record over that span, the team has finally caught the eye of the pundits who put together the rankings of all 30 teams.
Nets are getting kudos for their offense, extending Spencer Dinwiddie and picking up Rodions Kurucs late in the Draft. His surprising (some might say astonishing) play is no longer just a good vibe. It’s a fact, as Tommy Beer tweeted on Wednesday…
Nets found a player in Rodions Kurucs. He leads BK in Net Rating by a wide margin
Nets have outscored their opponents by 53 points in the 322 minutes Rodions Kurucs has played this season.
Nets have been outscored by 36 points in 709 minutes Allen Crabbe has played this season.
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 26, 2018
Here’s where they stand with several pundits moving Kenny Atkinson’s charges up five spots and one, Khadrice Rollins of SI, putting them at 12, up SEVEN spots.
The Nets’ seven-game winning streak came to an end with a flurry of Victor Oladipo buckets on Friday, but they took care of business against the Suns on Sunday and their home-and-home with the Hornets this week provides the opportunity (for a team that had an eight-game losing streak less than three weeks ago) to move into playoff position. Though their current starting lineup’s impressive numbers (plus-25 in 61 minutes) are skewed by a blowout win over the Hawks, there’s a lot to like about new starter Rodions Kurucs. The energetic rookie has averaged 12.8 points on 51 percent shooting in his six starts, scored a career-high 24 points against Indiana, and registered his first double-double against Phoenix.
So call on your angels, your beaten and broken. It’s time that we mend them, so they don’t fade with the season — ”A New York Christmas.”
The Nets have rebounded nicely over the past couple of weeks, but to succeed going forward, they desperately need a healthy Caris LeVert to mend his dislocated foot. Despite the gruesome injury, LeVert did not require surgery and could return this season. That would give the Nets a boon in their quest for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Nets became one of the hottest teams in the league after their eight-game losing streak. Friday’s loss to the Pacers was their first since Dec. 5 and there’s a solid chance it will also be their last loss of 2018.
With D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie setting the tone as the lead guards, Brooklyn can always put pressure on its opponents from the lead guard spot. The depth on the wing now that Rodions Kurucs is really healthy won’t make up for Caris LeVert, but it does give coach Kenny Atkinson some options to mix and match with.
Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe stretching the floor, DeMarre Carroll and Jared Dudley keeping the locker room together as veteran leaders and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson proving defensive versatility have all been key in flipping things around in Brooklyn. And in the East, that kind of depth can take you above most of the competition.
The Brooklyn Nets continue to impress their peers. After an eight-game slide seemed to bring out the calls of “here go the same old Nets,” they managed to right the ship and get themselves back into the playoff picture… in the East. Eight of the last nine games are victories for the Nets. They’re chugging along pretty well in this regular season, and they look like they’ll be competitive most of the year. A playoff appearance makes it a lot easier for them to pitch prospective star free agents to represent on this team. The perception of the Nets has changed drastically, but there’s a huge difference between no longer being a punchline and becoming the puncher. The Nets need to fake it before they make it when it comes to that.
That’s why the perfect stuffing or envelope insert is these mBerry Miracle Fruit Tablets. They’re advertised as you’ll be able to get your friends to chug vinegar if one of these tablets his the liquid in the glass. Turns sour food into sweet too. They say to alter your tastebuds and use these tablets to throw a weird dinner party. Really, the Nets just need to get into the practice of tricking star players into believing stuff about the Nets they shouldn’t. Convince them you’re the next big deal. And start that by using a magic trick of sorts that wows their senses.
The Nets’ present: To keep on keeping on. Sean Marks inherited a load of lemons when he took over as general manager several years ago. Despite having terrible records, Nets have been hamstrung without high draft picks since that terrible Boston Celtics trade, but they are now out from under those trade obligations, and Marks has built up an impressive culture with head coach Kenny Atkinson and players the Nets have picked up off scrap heaps or drafted shrewdly in lower parts of the draft: Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert. Their recent seven-game winning streak was not a fluke; the Nets are a solid, deep team. Keep on keeping on, and hopefully, add a major piece or two in the 2019 offseason.
The Nets just keep coming. Brooklyn has won eight of nine and, even with every scheduling caveat imaginable, that is undeniably impressive. This may not end up being a playoff team, even in the East, but it’s officially time to discuss the Nets when evaluating the race for the No. 8 spot.
Spencer Dinwiddie got paid, which raises the issue of D’Angelo Russell’s future. Further complicating matters: Russell has been awesome of late.
He pumped in 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting against Atlanta on Sunday, helping the Nets to a season-high 144 points. Then, against his old Lakers team on Tuesday, he handed out a career-high-tying 13 assists and buried a 25-foot dagger with 22.4 seconds left that sealed the win.
The Nets have won seven straight for the first time since 2012-13, their inaugural season in Brooklyn.