Unfortunately, it was a weirdly scheduled week for Brooklyn. The soaring Nets played the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors — two of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference, let alone the NBA. A game against the Atlanta Hawks, one of the bottom-feeders of the league, was sandwiched in between.
The Nets went 1-2 in those games, which, while it was to be expected, was the first losing week that Brooklyn has had since this column started.
Here’s how this week impacted the stock of the Nets.
Last week’s scores:
1/7: Celtics 116, Nets 95
1/9: Nets 116, Hawks 100
1/11: Raptors 112, Nets 105
1. Acknowledging Nets History
Last Tuesday, the Hawks played a game in Toronto against the Raptors. A lot of national media attention was given to Vince Carter’s return to Toronto. Fans gave him a standing ovation in what could be his last trip there if Carter decides to retire at the end of this season. And it made sense that Toronto got the attention, since that’s where Vince Carter’s star was born, particularly in the 2000 Dunk Contest.
But Carter was also one of the Nets’ legends too, and he’s third all-time in scoring even though he doesn’t crack the top 10 in games played for the team. Carter was a reliable force in his time with the franchise, averaging 23.6 points per game, 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game — the most complete stretch of basketball of his career. He also provided a myriad of highlights, from his clutch buzzer-beaters to his second-to-none dunks.
And the Nets acknowledged all that when Carter and the Hawks visited Brooklyn the next day, putting out a video on social media and playing it in the arena to honor one of their legends.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 10, 2019
2. Nets’ Video/Social Team
Joe Harris is shooting 48.2 percent from deep, the second-best mark in the entire league. But Harris isn’t a household name yet, so despite his marksmanship, he isn’t a shoo-in for the NBA’s three-point contest during All-Star Weekend.
To fix that, the Nets’ social team put together a stellar video trying to promote Harris’ candidacy for the spot.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 10, 2019
Bonus shout-out to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Rodions Kurucs for the stellar acting jobs as well.
3. Theo Pinson and Alan Williams
Brooklyn fell behind by a lot in both losses this week. While that’s obviously not ideal, it did provide some playing time for Pinson and Williams, two guys who excelled in the G League for the Long Island Nets this year.
Alan Williams only played against the Raptors but scored eight points in just under nine minutes. Pinson played in both losses, showing off a decent all-around game with his improved shooting and pick-and-roll prowess with Williams.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 12, 2019
Even in a couple of defeats, there’s always a silver lining to be found.
1. Trevon Graham
Graham suffered an early-season injury, which kept him out of the rotation until just recently. Now that he’s back, though, he’s averaged 24.3 minutes per game — sixth-most on the team. Graham also started the game against the Raptors in Dudley’s stead. Perhaps still shaking off that rest, he did very little in his time, putting up just 5.7 points per game on 25 percent from the field and a rough 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from deep.
The Nets have made a habit of taking castaway players, such as Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, and developing them into true contributors. That seems to be the effort they’re making with Graham — but the (very) early returns haven’t been great.
2. Spencer Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie has improved so much in his time with the Nets that his recent three-year, $34.5 million extension seems like a great value for Brooklyn.
But with his improvement comes higher expectations for his play. And this week’s production — 32.3 percent from the field, 2.7 assists to 2.3 turnovers per game — won’t cut it.
There’s no cause for concern yet, as all players can go through minor slumps. Hopefully, Dinwiddie turns this around soon.
3. Kenneth Faried
The Nets’ regular starting power forward is Jared Dudley, a fantastic locker room presence and veteran who is nearing the end of his career. In two games this week, Dudley has scored zero points. He then missed the game against the Raptors with an injury.
Faried started the week off great with 13 points and 12 rebounds against the Celtics. Then, despite Dudley struggling and missing time, Faried didn’t see the court against the Hawks and only played 12 minutes against the Raptors.
Faried came along to the Nets with a first round pick from Denver. So far, he hasn’t gotten a true consistent chance to play for Brooklyn and it’s still tough to figure out exactly why.
This week’s games
1/14 vs. Boston Celtics
1/16 @ Houston Rockets
1/18 @ Orlando Magic
As always, let me know on Twitter what I got right and what you think was dead wrong.