Brooklyn Nets Make Large Jump in ESPN’s Week 4 Rankings

The Brooklyn Nets had a solid Week 3, actually finishing with a winning record for the week (2-1). They’ve been shocking everyone with their impressive start, and ESPN took notice of this in its most recent power rankings.

The Brooklyn Nets suffered a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers last night, but that should pale in comparison to everything the team has done thus far. Not many people were hopeful for the team this season and expected Brooklyn to finish in last place.

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However, the Nets sit far from last place. They’ve been trying make their way back to the .500 mark and have been teetering and tottering more or less around the middle of the NBA.

In ESPN’s latest power rankings, Marc Stein set the Nets at No. 18. This is a drastic leap, as Brooklyn ranked at No. 28 the previous week. Below is what Stein wrote to explain this jump.

The Nets are 4-5. The Nets are 3-0 when Brook Lopez scores at least 25 points. The Nets are making Kenny Atkinson a legit contender for Eastern Conference coach of the month honors. It’s all almost as difficult to process as this surprising stat that came up around the office before the Nets visited their crosstown rivals last Wednesday night: Brooklyn’s Jeremy Lin amazingly played only 15 games at Madison Square Garden as a Knick. That’s it. That’s as long as Linsanity lasted.

Kenny Atkinson has certainly done wonders with the Nets’ roster, seemingly making something out of nothing. Even if he doesn’t take home Eastern Conference coach of the month honors, he’s still my coach of the month. Heck, he’s my coach of the year.

The one game that Brooklyn won without Brook Lopez needing to score at least 25 points was the one that opened up their West Coast road trip, against the Phoenix Suns. Lopez also sat out last night in Los Angeles, but it’s clear Atkinson was saving him for the second of the back-to-backs, since the Lakers are a much more manageable matchup. After all, Brooklyn had little chance against currently the best team in the NBA.

The Nets continue to play without Jeremy Lin, who will be re-evaluated sometime this week. Lin was set to miss at least two weeks with a strained left hamstring, and this week is the second week.

Per Greg Logan of Newsday, Atkinson noted that even if the Nets had Lin last night, they still would’ve struggled with ballhandling against the No. 1 defense in the NBA.

The Nets have a tough week ahead of them. Tonight, they face Lakers, once again at the Staples Center. They’ll then travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder, which concludes their West Coast road trip. Their week ends with a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers back at the Barclays Center. Brooklyn will probably take a dip in this week’s power rankings, but cracking the top 20 at all in any week is promising.

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