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Brooklyn Nets Attempting to Climb Out of NBA Cellar

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets enter Thursday’s game against the Indiana Pacers with the worst record in the NBA at 8-25.  Even the hapless Sixers currently have more wins than they do.

They have a dearth of talent and barely any draft picks, but you all know that story.  So, how can the Nets improve in the near-term?

Well, they can start by staying healthy.  Marquee free agent signing Jeremy Lin has been limited to just 12 games this year due to a creaky left hamstring.  He returned to action last week after a lengthy absence, but is sidelined once again.  There is currently no timetable for his return.  Veteran guard Randy Foye was banged-up to start the season, as was rookie Caris LeVert.

Brooklyn hasn’t played many games at full strength this season, but were relatively competitive when they had their entire roster at the disposal of coach Kenny Atkinson.

Another way to halt the consistent losing is by playing better defense.  The Nets rank near the bottom of most NBA defensive categories, and they know they can be better.  They’ve recently lost close games to the Rockets, Bulls and Jazz, all because they were unable to defend in the fourth quarter.  They even managed to hold large leads in all three contests against playoff-level competition.

With Lin out, a lot of pressure has been placed on rookie point guard Isaiah Whitehead.  He has made strides, especially defensively, but his offense leaves much to be desired.

“His defense is probably a lot farther ahead than his offense right now, which is kind of where we want it,” Atkinson said. “The focus is on him to really defend the position. … For a guy that in college was known as a scorer, he’s kind of accepted the role of ‘I have to defend.’ ”

Sean Kilpatrick and Spencer Dinwiddie have been forced to play the point at times for the Nets, but Brooklyn could really use an experienced healthy point guard on its roster.

Brook Lopez leads the team with 20.3 points per game, but he is only averaging 5.3 rebounds.  He needs to be better on the boards, criticism that has plagued him for much of his career.  If he can snag start to snag more rebounds, it could lead to more transition offense for the Nets.

Four of the Nets’ eight wins have come against potential playoff teams (Clippers, Hornets, Pacers and Pistons), so the effort is obviously there.  They have close losses to other contenders as well, but the bottom line is the Nets will remain at the bottom of the NBA standings for a long time if they can’t begin to correct their mistakes on a consistent basis.

Notes:  Current Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott has been assigned to the Long Island Nets of the D-League.  He has started the past several games for them, allowing Nets brass to take a long look at the NBA veteran.  He will be a free agent this summer and could find himself suiting up for Brooklyn one day.

Chris McCullough has been a force for the Long Island Nets as he continues his development, averaging 19.1 points and 8.3 rebounds in 17 games. The coaching staff has noticed his progress, but he is a long way from joining the big league club on a regular basis.

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Jason Goldstein is a co host of the Baseline Jumper NBA podcast, recording every Tuesday night along Ben McDonald. Jason has also spent time as the Basketball Editor at while also handling the Brooklyn Nets Lead Writer duties since October 2015.
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