No Dwight Howard, but optimism abounds?

A few months ago, people made it seem like the only way the Brooklyn Nets could be good was if they got Dwight Howard. They didn’t. Why are people still optimistic?

Because they’re still very good. Dwight Howard would’ve turned the Nets into an instant contender overnight, and would’ve made them a much better team than they are today. But fans are excited because for the first time in a half-decade, the Nets are actually good. For the past three years, it’s been nearly impossible to go into the arena with the assumption that the Nets were even marginally favored to win that night’s game. That’s not true anymore — not with a healthy starting five, a bench made of real basketball players, and Joe Johnson instead of DeShawn Stevenson.

They’re not championship contenders at this point — the team’s too far away defensively, particularly defending the rim. Dwight Howard would’ve changed that. But they’re still a team that has a chance to compete every single night.