Do the pundits have a point?

P.J. Carlesimo
AP
AP
AP

After seasons of 49 and 44 wins, the purely predictive ESPN’s Eastern Conference Forecast ranked the Brooklyn Nets to finish 8th in the conference with a 39-43 record, barely making the playoffs.

Do they have a point?

The same core as their 49-win 2013 expansion squad will anchor this 2015 Brooklyn team: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. Of course 2 seasons of father time has its fickle effects amongst players, but if we’re looking to set a benchmark for the upcoming year, don’t stop any further than to look at the 2013 roster. Let’s look at how the Nets roster is constructed from then to now.

Position

2013

2015 Role Replacement

Stock

G

Deron Williams

Deron Williams

?

G

C.J. Watson

Jarrett Jack

Up

G

Tyshawn Taylor

Marquis Teague

Down

G

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson

?

G

Keith Bogans

Alan Anderson

Up

G

MarShon Brooks

Jorge Gutierrez

Down

F

Gerald Wallace

Andrei Kirilenko

?

F

Jerry Stackhouse

Bojan Bogdanovic

Up

F

Josh Childress

Markel Brown

Up

F

Toko Shengelia

Sergey Karasev

Up

F

Reggie Evans

Kevin Garnett

Down

F

Kris Humphries

Cory Jefferson

Down

F

Mirza Teletovic

Mirza Teletovic

?

C

Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez

Up?

C

Andray Blatche

Mason Plumlee

Up?

 

Other than a few question marks, it’s safe to say that in a broad sense, the Nets have improved since that year.

There are questions. Deron Williams received double ankle surgery back on May 27th. He has battled injuries since putting on a Nets jersey, but maybe this time will do the trick and he’ll return to Utah mode. (We hope.)

Brook Lopez is also coming off a surgery, a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot that cut his season short in December, but he has already proven that when he’s on the floor, he’s an All-Star-caliber center.

The NBA is a different monster than it was 2 seasons ago. Talent disseminated, youth entered, age set in. It’s a cycle. Competition certainly plays a huge factor in a team’s record, but when over two-thirds of their roster improves, is saying that team will lose 10 more games logical?

I think not. Much of the Brooklyn fan base is behind me on that one.

Bleacher Report’s Thomas Duffy predicts the Nets to finish 7th in the conference with a 46-36 record, which is closer to what fans would forecast. However, a 46-win 7th seed in the East is giving the conference more credit than it deserves, holding it to Western Conference standards. For comparison, last year’s 7th-seed, the Charlotte Bobcats, won just 43 games.

Only time will tell. What do you think?

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