With training camps underway across the NBA, ESPN released their latest power rankings. And the Nets are at the bottom of the heap.
The group of more than 40 reporters, insiders and editors positioned the Nets at No. 23 heading into the new season.
The Nets did a little spending this offseason, adding Kenneth Faried, Jared Dudley, and Shabazz Napier to name a few. They also bring in Dzanan Musa and Roions Kurucs in the Draft.
However, it is the 2019 NBA Draft that will be monumental for the team, given that they finally get to use their own first-round pick for the first time since 2013. Oh, and they have another too.
"Brooklyn has two first-round picks in the 2019 draft and owns its own first-rounder for the first time since 2013," ESPN's Ian Begley wrote. "The club may also have enough cap space for two max free agents in the summer of 2019. So yes, the Nets will have the chance to add significant talent in the 2019 offseason. Which leads us to the big question heading into training camp: Will the Nets need to upgrade the backcourt next summer? The answer to that question is largely up to D'Angelo Russell -- and it will start to reveal itself during camp. The 2015 No. 2 overall pick missed 34 games due to injury last season and will be a restricted free agent this summer, so Russell has a season to show Brooklyn that it should invest in his future. That process starts next week, when Russell will have a chance to show coaches he -- and not a future free agent or draft pick -- is one of the best guards to lead Brooklyn in its rebuild."
Russell averaged 15.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 32.4 percentage from deep in his first season with the Nets. As noted, he did miss a good chunk of time due to injury. However, if he can prove to be the leader he is expected to be this season, the Nets could keep him around while they create a competitive roster.
There is also promise from players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Demarre Carroll, and 2017 first-rounder Jarrett Allen. So, the Nets can be competitive now instead of looking ahead to 2019. It will be up to a young group to play head coach Kenny Atkinson's transition offense to a tee to make that the case this season.