The Brooklyn Nets should be the last team you decide to bet on this season, but if you do here are three bets to consider making …
Over/Under: Jeremy Lin playing in 30 or more games this season
It’s an understatement to say that the Jeremy Lin era in Brooklyn is off to a rocky start. As the Nets only high profile off-season signing, expectations were sky high for the 6’3″ point guard who set the town on fire with “Linsanity” during his last stint in New York.
However, as a member of the Nets, Lin is averaging a disappointing 5.5 assists and 13.3 points per game in a season plagued with injuries.
With their starting point guard sidelined, the Nets have been reliant on Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead, who are both averaging around three assists per game, to run head coach Kenny Atkinson’s high paced offense.
You know, the same experiment that has led to the team’s current 10-49 record.
In his first three games back, Lin has shown the potential to be the floor general the team needs. He is averaging eleven points and four assists in 16.5 minutes a game and recently combined with Brook Lopez for 14 of the team’s final 16 points in the Nets’ 109-100 win against the Sacramento Kings.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson has been incorporating Lin back into the offense with a, somewhat liberal, minutes restriction. In his first action since coming back from his hamstring injury, Atkinson has allowed Lin to play in both ends of back to back games and has increased his playing time to 20 minutes a game. All signs point to Lin playing in a majority of the team’s remaining games.
With Lin back in the lineup, the next 23 games will give Atkinson and the Nets front office a better understanding of what the Brook-Lin combination can become and what moves they need to make in the offseason.
Over/Under: One current player on the Nets roster being selected as an NBA All-Star between now and the end of their career.
Now, this is a depressing conversation to have. Outside of Lopez, the Nets roster is void of any players with All-Star level talent. Although, the Nets are in possession of a valuable young core of players like such as Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and the aforementioned Whitehead. They are all high-quality rotational players at best.
As presently constructed, the Nets have arguably the worst lineup in the NBA and are in the bottom half of the league in almost every statistical category. A fact that makes it hard to envision any of the team’s current players dawning an all-star jersey at any time in their careers.
Caris LeVert has the most upside of any player on the Nets roster. In his rookie season, he has demonstrated the athleticism to create his own shot and the ball handling ability to fill in as a playmaker with the second unit. However, as of yet, he hasn’t developed the ability to take over a game or the consistent shooting touch to keep defenders honest. Based on his current body of work, his ceiling seems to fall short of an all-star caliber player.
Over-Under: The Nets winning 20 or more games this season
Wildcard Bet: Over
After sixteen consecutive losses, the Brooklyn Nets have finally achieved double-digit wins on the season. The team posted a horrific 0-10 record in February, but are undefeated in the month of March behind a 109-100 win over the Sacramento Kings.
The return of Jeremy Lin has, for the first time this season, given Nets fans a reason to be optimistic. Lin’s play over the last three games has provided the team with a much-needed boost of energy, as they traveled out west on an eight-game road trip. Lin’s ability to create his own shot and distribute the ball gives the Nets the floor general they have been missing all season. Brook Lopez is no longer the lone offensive threat in the fourth quarter and the Nets have a veteran guard to handle the ball when the game is on the line.
With 23 games remaining on the team’s schedule, the Nets would have to go 10-13 in order to hit the 20 win mark. Nothing about the Nets play throughout the last 59 games indicates that they have the ability to pull off such a tremendous feat, but somehow it still seems possible.
Six of the Nets final fourteen opponents have a sub .500 record; Dallas, Detroit, Knicks, Orlando, Philadelphia and Portland. Out of these six, they play each of the four Eastern Conference teams twice, giving the Nets a total of ten remaining games against teams with losing records. If the Nets are able to capitalize on five or more of their favorable matchups, they have a great chance at pulling off the impossible.
With the Boston Celtics owning their 2017 first-round pick, the Nets have no incentive to tank. The only way to end the season respectfully would be to make a strong push at doubling their current win total.