The Brooklyn Nets enter 2018-19 with playoff aspirations for their young squad. Improvement across the board by Brooklyn’s young players, coupled with the return of Jeremy Lin, could make the Nets a dark horse for the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. Expect Brooklyn to play an entertaining brand of basketball with a fast pace and lots of three pointers.
D’Angelo Russell is the wild card in which the Nets organization hinges on. As he enters his fourth professional season, will Russell develop into a star? This season will be huge for Russell to prove he is a cornerstone for the franchise to build around.
Russell is just one piece of a loaded backcourt for Brooklyn. Fan favorite Jeremy Lin returns from last year’s gruesome knee injury that he suffered on Opening Night. Lin will likely be the team’s starting point guard and run the show in head coach Kenny Atkinson’s offense. Spencer Dinwiddie will also play a significant role in Brooklyn’s lineup after a breakthrough 2018 season which saw Dinwiddie finish third in the Most Improved Player voting. Dinwiddie carried the offense throughout much of last season when Lin and Russell were hurt, showing improvements with his jump shot and ability to attack the rim. Other guards who expect to see playing time are Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe, and Joe Harris. The Nets hope LeVert can turn into a future All-Star, which his talent the past two seasons certainly suggests he can. Meanwhile, Crabbe is one of the best three point shooters in the NBA, and Harris re-signed with the team in the off-season after improving tremendously under Atkinson last year.
Brooklyn is thinner in the frontcourt, where depth is limited behind DeMarre Carroll, Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about big man Jarrett Allen, who showed flashes of serious potential last year as a rookie. Allen has freak athleticism and excels at rocking the rim off the pick and roll. With a 1970’s-esque afro and no shortage of highlight dunks, Jarrett Allen is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Brooklyn.
Signs are finally pointing up in Brooklyn, as there is once again a reason to be excited about Nets basketball. General manager Sean Marks has done a tremendous job acquiring young talent with the limited assets he started the job with. Head coach Kenny Atkinson has proved he is the perfect coach for this team, embracing modern styles of play and emphasizing player development. Next summer the Nets will have a ton of cap space and their own first round pick for the first time in what feels like forever, putting an end to the infamous Boston trade.
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