The Brooklyn Nets are the worst team in the NBA, and it isn’t particularly close. That is a widely accepted sentiment for many reasons, chief of which is an active 16-game losing streak and a record that sits at 9-49 as the calendar flips to March. There are a myriad of reasons why the Nets aren’t very good at basketball right now.
But just how bad are they?
Obviously, a 9-49 mark isn’t ideal for any team, especially one that does not control its own draft pick for the 2017 NBA Draft. The ill-conceived trade that Brooklyn executed with the Boston Celtics has been litigated on every front and was a complete disaster. This is not up for debate. With that said, the Nets have changed course in admirable fashion, hiring a head coach with player development background in Kenny Atkinson and a forward-thinking general manager in Sean Marks.
With all of that said, there is actually an argument that Brooklyn isn’t that bad after all. Yes, there is a (very) wide gap between the Nets and everyone else in the standings, but Brooklyn’s net rating of -8.4 isn’t historically bad. In fact, there has been at least one team with an uglier point differential in every single season since 2007-2008, and the Nets are by comparison to the worst of the worst, a scrappy bunch. Throw in the fact that much of this season has been played without the team’s second-best player in Jeremy Lin and there are reasons for extremely mild optimism.
The Nets acquired assets for the future at the trade deadline, and while that does not move the needle in a huge way, it is a necessary evil for this team. If the aforementioned Lin is able to play the rest of the season in conjunction with Brook Lopez and others, there is a chance that Brooklyn’s already reasonable net rating could actually improve, even if their standing among the rest of the league does not. While it seems crazy to suggest that the Nets are doing everything right at the moment, it is an argument worth making, especially given the internal development of players like Caris LeVert and Sean Kilpatrick.
We already know where the Nets will land every week until the end of the season, barring a miracle of epic proportions. Where does every other team stack up? Let’s explore that now with our first post-trade deadline power rankings.