Even though the Nets only have 7 of 12 roster spots filled for next season, they have already become one of the favorites to win the eastern conference. How is this possible? Well, the 7 players they have signed are Deron Williams, a legitimate superstar, Joe Johnson, a 6-time all-star, Gerald Wallace, a former all-star who is on of the best defenders in the NBA, Mirza Teletovic, the Euroleague’s leading scorer from last season, Marshon Brooks, one of the most exciting young rookies from last season, Reggie Evans, one of the dirtiest players in the NBA and a guy who you want on your team, and Tyshawn Taylor, a second or third string point guard.
They will also be able to sign at least Brook Lopez and likely Kris Humphries, if not trade for Dwight Howard, the best center in basketball, and Gerald Green hasn’t ruled out returning to the Nets, but at this point I believe that that is unlikely.
With a starting lineup of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Humphries, and Lopez, and Marshon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic coming off the bench, I believe that the Nets should easily be a top-4 team in the east with home court advantage, if not the #2 seed. Let’s look at their competition. Miami is clearly the favorites in the east after winning the championship last year, and I expect them to finish with the best record in the conference. But after that, the picture is unclear. Chicago would be a contender, except for that Derrick Rose is out until at least February, and the Bulls proved that they are frauds when they don’t have Rose in the playoffs last season. Boston showed that they still have some left in the tank, but they don’t care about the regular season and are only focussed on the playoffs. Indiana surprised many by getting the #3 seed, but they will probably lose Roy Hibbert, and even if they keep him, their roster would not be nearly as talented as the Nets’. Until the Knicks stop playing selfish basketball, they will not be able to compete with the Nets, and I even think that the Nets are more talented that the Knicks right now.
To conclude, not only will the Nets make the playoffs next year for the first time since 2007, but they should be able to make some noise when they get there.