It wasn’t that long ago that the Nets were in the top 5 of any NBA power rankings. Now, however, another rough has taken them further away from that spot.
Brooklyn dropped all three games they had last week and is now 2-5 since Kevin Durant went out with a sprained MCL earlier this month. That’s dropped them to 11th in the latest ESPN NBA power rankings that came out on Monday and DraftKings dropped them down to 10th.
The Nets had been 10th and fourth respectively in previous power rankings by the two outlets.
The Nets played two of their three contests last week without the services of James Harden, who dealt with hamstring tightness and a strain in his hand. That meant that Brooklyn did not have a single member of their “Big 3” on the court on Wednesday in their loss to Denver and only Kyrie Irving was available for them on Saturday at Golden State.
“Brooklyn has had its superstar trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden together for a little over a year,” ESPN wrote of the Nets. “Remarkably, they have only played 10 regular-season games together for a grand total of 234 regular-season minutes, including just 32 this season. Those numbers won’t change for another several weeks, either, as Durant remains out with an MCL sprain.”
While the Nets have slumped through the middle of the season, they are hoping that the mid-year struggles can help make the team stronger when it really matters late in the season. Their upcoming week won’t be any easier either with four games scheduled over their next five days.
That starts on Tuesday with a game against the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns.
“I think it’s our job to make sure these guys recognize it’s about improvement,” Nash said on Saturday. “It’s about growth. We’re undermanned, and hopefully, we win a bunch of games undermanned, but if we don’t, it’s about growth, it’s about getting better, and it’s about us putting ourselves in a position down the line that’s further ahead, and when we do get reinforcements, we’ll be much better for it.”