Heading into week four of the 2016-17 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets are surprising the NBA. Many pundits forecasted doom, despair and gloom for this Nets team, yet they continue to amaze. Make no mistake the Nets, who are currently 4-5, will not contend for the NBA championship this season. They will not even contend for the conference title this season. More than likely the Nets will not make the playoffs this season. That said this team is here to stay and they intend to enjoy the ride.
The Surprising Brooklyn Nets Off to a Hot Start
The Pundits Were Very Opinionated
As the NBA off-season wound down, all eyes were on the new upcoming season. During this period, there were assumptions, presumptions, conjectures, and prognostications by the so-called experts. In Las Vegas, Nevada, bookmakers and odds-makers forecasted the Nets would win twenty games this season. Nate Duncan of the Dunk’d On Podcast, as well as Danny Leroux of Real GM radio thought it best not to mention the Brooklyn Nets for more than a minute in each of their forecast programs. Kevin Pelton, ESPN’s premier analytics expert has been savage in his ‘objective observations’. Surprising the NBA and its pundits are no mean feat.
The Nets aren't exactly brimming with talent. There's a reason they're going to win 25 games or less. https://t.co/ZRM3Ic0xPQ
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 24, 2016
West Coast Road Trip
The Nets have embarked on their first road trip of the season, beginning with the first trip to Madison Square Garden where they faced their hated rivals and self-appointed big brothers the New York Knicks. Coming off a high-energy victory against a youthful, talented Minnesota Timberwolves at home, the Nets faced the Knicks. The Nets led the entire first half and deep into the third quarter, but was besmirched by Carmelo Anthony’s greatness. Midway through the third quarter, Anthony scored six consecutive baskets effectively shooting the Nets out of the game.
After that heartbreak administered by Anthony, the Nets headed out west. First up, the great state of Arizona. The Phoenix Suns are a young squad led by young Head Coach Earl Watson, who is in his first full season at the helm. On Saturday night, the Nets stormed into ‘Talking Stick Resort Arena’ and took the fight to the Suns leaving victorious. The Nets scored one hundred and twenty-two (122), on an opponent’s floor. A western conference opponent no less.
Atkinson is the Man with the Plan
Rookie coach Kenny Atkinson continues to accumulate effusive praise for his masterful leadership thus far. Apart from losing to the Chicago Bulls Halloween, the Nets were either victorious or in close-hard fought losses thus far during this regular season. Atkinson is first to express his dissatisfaction with the team’s results thus far, but he tempers that with his satisfaction of the team’s gritty mentality.
Atkinson’s ability has been on full display. The Nets defeated the Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns. No one can deny that the Nets were the lesser talented team in each of those matchups. Next up the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the Nets face the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Atkinson and the Nets are surprising the NBA with his preparation. This team is supposed to lose, however Atkinson didn’t receive the memo. Though the offense is still spotty the Nets average close to one hundred points per game. The defense is a work in progress.
Nets Wrecked by Injuries
The Nets have been beset by injuries to a few players. Jeremy Lin, the team’s starting point guard is still out with hamstring troubles. Rookie Isaiah Whitehead who replaced Lin in the lineup has been out the past few games with a concussion. Caris LeVert continues to recover from a Jones’ Fracture surgery. Randy Foye, the veteran combo guard who was brought in as cover, is just returning to the line-up after games out as well. Consequently, the Nets released injured veteran point guard Greivis Vasquez to sign undrafted rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell from the D-League affiliate the Long Island Nets.
As it stands the Brooklyn Nets are surprising in these nine games, have been four wins and five losses. Put into perspective, last season the Nets fourth victory came after seventeen (17) games. This is verifiable progress with a much less talented team. A team also hampered with injuries. Brook Lopez has been outstanding in his play. Only if he would improve his rebounding numbers. Luis Scola, Trevor Booker, Justin Hamilton, Sean Kilpatrick and Joe Harris has all played well during most if not all the previous games. These were all outcasts from last season, now they’re surprising the NBA with good and even stellar play sometimes.
Kenny Atkinson should be getting as much or more attention as Luke Walton for what he's doing w/ a less talented roster
— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) November 13, 2016
Nets are about to be 4-5, including two wins without a single NBA point guard. Absolutely ridiculous job so far by Kenny Atkinson.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 13, 2016
The Nets are surprising the NBA not because of talent. They surprise the opponent by embodying the spirit Kenny Atkinson. “BrooklynGrit” is real and evident each time the Nets play. How many more surprises do the Nets have in store? Stay tuned!