Just a month ago, the world would have probably chuckled if I were to say that I thought the Brooklyn Nets would make it to the playoffs. They were lost and seemed out of place, even in the uncompetitive Eastern Conference of the NBA. Now, they are on a five-game winning streak, coming off perhaps their biggest win of the season against the Miami Heat on Friday. The Nets may have a lot of work to do but they are headed in the right direction.
From here on out, the Nets should steadily improve. They have found new hope behind the leadership of Joe Johnson, who had 22 first-quarter points in the upset over the Heat. This team needed someone to step up in the absence of Deron Williams. Williams is without a doubt the leader of the team, but he has struggled to stay healthy this season. His health will play a vital role in the outcome of the Nets’ year.
This team just needed a reason to believe that they are good enough to get things turned around. Losing is contagious, but not as contagious as winning. The restored faith found in their recent winning streak could propel this team to reach the high expectations placed on them prior to the start of the season; after being predicted to be one of the league’s top teams, but it was impossible for them to live up to the hype with all the players missing valuable time.
The Eastern Conference is weak and that falls right into the Nets’ hands. It would be great to see the conference improve, but teams are not going to miss taking advantage of an excellent opportunity to make the playoffs with a sub .500 record. The best thing to come out of their recent success is the confidence they are building as a unit. They have the components to compete, but their dedication to playing team ball was missing for most of the season. The Nets could turn out to be one of the most dangerous teams by the time the playoffs arrive. Look out Brooklyn, you fans may finally have a team you can truly be proud of.