After the Brooklyn Nets put a scare into the Boston Celtics on opening night and then proceeded to take down the Indiana Pacers, some Celtics fans began to panic.
Have we been overestimating how bad they would be?
Are they actually going to be respectable?
Is the value of the Nets’ picks Danny Ainge owns going to decrease?
All were knee-jerk reaction questions just because Brooklyn did not look absolutely dreadful two games into the season.
And you know what? They were silly questions, too.
Look: I understand the idea of knee-jerk reactions, but really?
Anyway, the Nets are now four games into their 2016-17 season, and they are 1-3 after getting thoroughly thrashed at home by the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
Once again, Brooklyn was back to being what we all expected it would be this year: terrible.
The fact that the Nets cut into a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Celtics’ second unit and beat a struggling Pacers team does not suddenly mean we should worry about the status of Brooklyn’s draft picks that Boston possesses for this year and 2018.
Think about it: The Nets’ two best players are Jeremy Lin and the oft-injured Brook Lopez. The rest of their rotation is filled out by journeymen such as Randy Foye, Trevor Booker and Luis Scola, the latter of whom is 678 years past his prime.
Oh, and let’s not forget Anthony Bennett, who kind of told people they shouldn’t even watch Brooklyn play this season.
Yeah, there is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is admittedly a talented young player, but he is not going to make a significant difference at this stage.
Is that a lineup that scares you at all?
Some fans are positive, and some fans are negative. I get that. And while positive fans tend to embellish just how good their team’s situation is, negative fans tend to embellish the opposite end of the spectrum.
Maybe it’s just a way to avoid disappointment, but whatever it is, it’s kind of ridiculous.
Coming into this season, many people felt that Brooklyn would be even than the Philadelphia 76ers, and you know what? There is still a chance that happens.
The 76ers are extremely young and raw, sure, but they have talent that the Nets simply do not possess.
Also, there is something else to keep in mind: Brooklyn might trade some of its best pieces before the deadline.
The Nets are not exactly loaded with draft picks. They don’t have their own first-rounder until 2019, and the Celtics pick they own this season (due to a pick swap with Boston) will probably end up somewhere in the 20s.
So, in order for Brooklyn to really start rebuilding and stocking pieces, it is going to have to do some trading.
Lopez, Lin and Booker are three players who can absolutely fetch something between now and February.
Do they have great value? Not really, but Lopez and Lin might each be able to get the Nets a late first-round pick, and Booker could probably land them a decent second-rounder.
Taking that into consideration, it is entirely possible that Brooklyn does not even finish out the season with this roster.
As a matter of fact, it would be fairly foolish of it to do so.
Lopez and Lin are not exactly players who are going to put fans in the seats, and the Nets certainly aren’t going to contend for a playoff spot, so why hold on to guys who are not going to be there when you are finally ready to win years down the line?
Lopez has drawn interest from other teams before. Remember: the Oklahoma City Thunder made a play for the big man back in 2015.
While his role has definitely diminished in the new space-and-pace NBA, Lopez can still absolutely find a niche elsewhere to provide a team with a good low-post scorer.
The problem for Brooklyn is that he is its No. 1 option. Heck; he’s one if its only options, the only other truly viable one being Lin.
It would still surprise me if the Nets finish with anything better than a bottom-three record in the league this season. I honestly think 25 wins would be a major accomplishment for this group, and they might even struggle to break the 20-win plateau.
Fret not, Celtics fans: your draft picks are safe, and Ainge knows that.