Last year’s worst team has their eyes set on playoffs in 2017-2018. For the Brooklyn Nets, the D’Angelo Russell era has begun.

After recording a 20-62 record, the Brooklyn Nets have their eyes set on competitive basketball. That’s right, this is going to be a team you’ll want to watch entering the 2017-2018 season.

General Manager Sean Marks pulled off some of the best trades across the league this summer, turning pennies into dimes, and singles into fives.

In an age where below average teams choose to tank this franchise has geared up and prepared to make the most of what they have.


Jeremy Lin single-handedly set the tone for the upcoming year when answering questions on his Instagram live stream in July. He says the Nets are bound to berth the postseason.

Why is it the Nets can set their eyes on playoffs, after finishing 21 games short last season? Is it Jeremy Lin‘s new dreadlocks? The ice in D’Angelo Russell‘s veins? It’s a combination of both, among other things. A look at the new additions to this team, while also noting players who won’t return.

Here’s ESNY’s Brooklyn Nets season preview and predictions:

Brooklyn Nets


Who’s Gone?

Bogdanovic was a great role player for Brooklyn, but it was his trade that earned the first round pick used to acquire D’Angelo Russell.

The biggest piece on the way out is Lopez, who has served as the focal point of this franchise for many years prior. By trading him, the franchise has committed to a new era, spearheaded by newcomer Russell.

Nicholson and Hamilton were two big men who failed to produce in their separate stints with Brooklyn. They were each pieces used in one of two trades this summer, later waived by their new teams.

Goodwin being waived seemed a surprise to all, after he had an impressive couple games in the Las Vegas Summer League. Behind a heavy rotation at the guard position, he likely would have been 6th in line for minutes, prompting the move by Brooklyn.

Who’s New?

In just three trades, Brooklyn acquired four starting caliber players. Russell, Carroll, and Mozgov are currently cemented as the starting two, three, and five. While Crabbe begins his Nets career from the second unit.

Allen was selected with the 22nd overall pick of the draft and is viewed widely as an oversight from other teams. After an impressive freshman year at the University of Texas, he has the length and wingspan to defensively outfit this Brooklyn lineup.

Zeller was brought in as a reserve big man, as the focus will remain on Mozgov and Allen at the center position. Once a reliable starter, he has played an average of only 11.5 minutes per game over the last two years.


UNIONDALE, NY – OCTOBER 11: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson #24 of the Brooklyn Nets dribblres against the Philadelphia 76ers during their Pre Season game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 11, 2017 in Uniondale, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Story Lines to Watch

The season ahead is an exciting one for not only the team as a whole, but for individuals as well. There is more than one storyline to pay attention to as the year passes by.

D’Angelo Russell’s Revenge on the Lakers

Likely the most interesting of all is Russell’s efforts to prove Los Angeles was wrong to trade him. Following his trade to Brooklyn, President of Operations Magic Johnson claimed the young guard couldn’t be the “leader this team needs.”

Though he never spared us the courtesy of responding to Johnson’s remark, one has to think Russell will be looking to show out this year. Brooklyn is set to visit Los Angeles on November 3rd, and host them at Barclays Center on February 2nd.

Watch for some highlight reel worthy performances from Russell in those two games, and cross your fingers he does the ice in his veins thing.

Allen Crabbe, More Than a Bench Player?

Since being drafted into this league, Crabbe has never been more than a reserve scorer for the Portland Trailblazers. In 226 games played over four seasons, he has appeared in the starting lineup only 24 times.

Last season, Crabbe scored 10.7 points per game on the league’s second-best 44 percent from beyond the arc. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be considered for a starting job, yet his role resides there even in Brooklyn.

An hardy effort from Crabbe and breakout season could potentially land him in the starting lineup, pay close attention to his minutes this upcoming year.

The Brooklyn Nets Become New York’s Basketball Team

New York and Brooklyn haven’t necessarily differed in franchise success the last couple years. Yet with stars like Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks always managed to outshine the Nets as New York’s most popular basketball team.

Now with Anthony gone, and a young franchise guard in D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn is making a push to be the team in New York. The preseason has already foreshadowed it, but a better overall record (and playoff appearance) would secure their superiority.

Predictions, Team Awards

Cale Michael, Contributor

  • Record: 40-42
  • Atlantic Division Rankings: Boston, Toronto, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, New York
  • MVP: Jeremy Lin
  • ROY: Jarrett Allen
  • DPOY: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Playoffs? Yes, as the 8th seed.

Chris Milholen, Contributor

  • Record: 40-42
  • Atlantic Division Rankings: Boston, Toronto, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, New York
  • MVP: D’Angelo Russell
  • ROY: Jarrett Allen
  • DPOY: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Playoffs: Yes, as the 8th seed.

Zach Cronin, Staff Editor

  • Record: 30-52
  • Atlantic Division Rankings: Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, New York
  • MVP: D’Angelo Russell
  • ROY: Jarrett Allen
  • DPOY: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Playoffs: no, sadly

Chip Murphy, Knicks Boss

  • Record: 30-52
  • Atlantic Division Rankings: Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, New York.
  • MVP: D’Angelo Russell
  • ROY: Jarrett Allen
  • DPOY: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Playoffs: Not this year.

Collin Loring, Nets Boss

  • Record: 36-46
  • Atlantic Division Rankings: Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, New York.
  • MVP: D’Angelo Russell
  • ROY: Jarrett Allen
  • DPOY: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Playoffs: Not this year.

Conclusion

The Brooklyn Nets are not the same team from last year, that much has been proven already.

With a new era commencing in the Big Apple world of basketball, this team will accept nothing less than top dog.

When teams come to Brooklyn, forget a guaranteed stomping, it’s time to compete. These Nets have chips on their shoulders, fires in their stomachs, and nothing to lose.

What about your team?

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