D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets haven’t been relevant in the Eastern Conference in years, but that could all change this season.

The Brooklyn Nets might not be out of the woods yet, but they’re getting closer. They haven’t won 30-plus games since 2014-15, but they did manage to improve by eight wins from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight released his Way-Too-Early NBA Projections on Monday and Nets fans should be pleasantly surprised. The Nets are projected to go 35-47 based on the CARM-Elo projections. If these projections were to hold true, the Nets would finish 10th in the Eastern Conference and miss out on the playoffs by four games.

But they currently have a 37 percent chance to make the playoffs. That’s at least something to get the Brooklyn faithful excited. Although their chances at making the NBA Finals is at an unlikely one percent and much like the Knicks, they’re chances at winning it all are less than one percent.

But playoffs or not, a seven-win improvement would be a huge step in the right direction for Kenny Atkinson’s club. The main goal for the Nets this season is to develop the young core while simultaneously showing potential free agents they are heading in the right direction.

Sean Marks and Brooklyn will have enough room for two max contracts in 2019 and the upcoming season will tell potential free agents a lot about the team.

But if you’re a Nets fan, this partially validates Spencer Dinwiddie’s trash talk from Monday and Tuesday. Although there aren’t many projected wins between the New York Knicks and the Nets, the rivalry seems to be picking up steam once again.

There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Brooklyn Nets. Whether that light includes a playoff spot this year is still unknown, but at the very least, there’s a chance for some playoff basketball in Brooklyn.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.