After making three-straight playoff appearances, the Brooklyn Nets have struggled mightily in recent years.
Now in the midst of a complete rebuild, they’re currently 21-46, which will presumably end up being an improvement over their previous two marks. In 2015-2016, they finished just 21-61 before managing a 20-62 mark last season.
Despite their obvious struggle to create tallies in the win column, the Nets have a number of reasons to be excited for their future. They traded for D’Angelo Russell last summer. He’s slated to emerge as the star of the team in the coming years. When Russell was injured midway through the season, Spencer Dinwiddie broke out as a legitimate floor general. He will likely remain a piece of the puzzle moving forward.
In the frontcourt, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has taken his game to the next level while rookie center Jarrett Allen has shown flashes of brilliance at times after recently seeing an uptick in minutes. Allen Crabbe have delivered solid minutes on the wing while Caris LeVert has recently been on fire in a ball-handling role off the bench. Jeremy Lin is also expected to return at full health next season. He was injured in the first game of the year and has been out since.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson is also widely respected and has implemented one of the most exciting up-tempo offensive schemes in the entire NBA.
Therefore, although the wins haven’t been there, the future looks bright.
One coach that went through a similar rebuild is 76ers coach Brett Brown. As a result, he has some sympathy for what’s going on in Brooklyn right now and appreciates the effort that Atkinson and the front office are making to turn things around.
“What I see is that he’s [Kenny Atkinson] really good at what they’re doing,” Brown recently said, per Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “We went overboard with development, we went overboard with relationships, tried to hold the locker room together. Make them feel they had worth and help them. You blink, and five years later we’re in a pretty good spot. We’ve got a young foundation and we like the direction we’re pointing. From afar looking across the fence at this team – and Sean Marks is a very close friend of mine – they get Jeremy [Lin] healthy and the style of play, I can see they’re heading in the right direction. We’ve got respect for them.”
Although they’ve struggled from a wins and losses perspective, Brown noticed that they’ve adopted a new culture in Brooklyn.
“I think they do a great job,” Brown stated. “They always play with a motor. They always play with a spirit. You never really see them sort of roll over.”
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Since they don’t hold the rights to their own first-round 2018 draft pick, the Nets will not benefit from losing from now until the end of the season. Therefore, expect them to come out with the same fire and tenacity as they look to rack up some wins heading into the offseason.
While it looks bleak right now, the Nets could be an up-and-coming franchise sometime soon. Take Brown’s word for it.