Could second-round pick, Markel Brown, emerge as a starter? Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets: 5 Things To Look For In 2014-15

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A few weeks ago, these were my predictions for how the Brooklyn Nets would fare in the 2014-15 Eastern Conference standings:

  1. Cavs (especially if they get Kevin Love)
  2. Wizards (I <3 John Wall)
  3. Bulls (just because Derrick Rose looked great in the Team USA scrimmage doesn’t mean he’ll last 82 games)
  4. Raptors (up-and-coming)
  5. Pacers (continued decline from last year)
  6. Heat (they lost James Jones … kidding)
  7. Hornets (acquired Lance Stephenson)
  8. Hawks (with the Nets and Knicks close behind)

However, ever since the gruesome Paul George Team USA injury (don’t worry, I won’t post the replay!), things look a little different.

With that being said, here are my updated 2014-15 Eastern Conference standings:

  1. Cavs
  2. Wizards
  3. Bulls
  4. Raptors
  5. Hornets
  6. Heat
  7. Hawks
  8. Knicks

Wait, the Knicks are the eighth seed? Didn’t you just write an article about how the Nets are slightly better right now?!

Yes. But that’s if everything goes according to plan. And, as we all know, every NBA season is full of surprises.

In the spirit of unpredictability, here are five things to look for from next season’s Brooklyn Nets:

Apr 5, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Kevin Garnett (2) celebrates with guard Deron Williams (8) during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Nets defeated the Sixers 105-101. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett will each play less than 50 games.

Teams built like the Brooklyn Nets, with aging and injury-prone players, can rarely click and stay on the court all at the same time. When someone gets healthy, another player goes down.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett missed significant time next year. Especially if Brooklyn isn’t winning a lot of games and finds itself out of playoff contention, I can see guys like D-Will and KG pulling an ‘I’m gonna sit out the rest of the season.’

 

Aug 1, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA Team Blue forward Mason Plumlee (35) reacts to his wrist being held by USA Team White center DeMarcus Cousins (36) during the USA Basketball Showcase at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee will average 13+ points and 7+ rebounds.

Plumlee made the all-rookie first team last year, impressing us with his size, athleticism, and polished skills.

On top of that, he averaged 18 ppg and five rpg this past Summer League.

Also, players always praise their experience with Team USA, claiming how it helps in their preparation for the following NBA season and helps them become better overall players. Hopefully the same will happen for Plumlee.

Mar 1, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Markel Brown (22) celebrates scoring a basket during the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Oklahoma State beat Kansas 72-65. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Markel Brown will emerge as a starter.

The new breed of starting shooting guard in the NBA is a defensive specialist. Thabo Sefoloshia, Jimmy Butler, Iman Shumpert, Avery Bradley, Tony Allen.

Like Courtney Lee in 2008-09 for the Orlando Magic, I foresee Markel Brown making his way into the Brooklyn Nets’ starting lineup as a rookie. He averaged a nice line of 10ppg, 4rpg, and 3apg in the Summer League, and has said he “takes pride in his defense.”

Jarret Jack or Mirza Teletovic will probably start at first, but going with Brown starting might be a good way for the Nets to reserve some scoring punch for the bench.

Dec 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Nets 121-120 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Brook Lopez will stay healthy.

His first three seasons in the NBA, Lopez didn’t miss a single game. Based on the doctor’s report, I think we’re going to see that Brook Lopez next season.

Beyond next season? I can’t say.

The Nets will miss the playoffs.

With more weapons last year, the Brooklyn Nets were still only the 6th seed in a weak conference. Now, the East is tougher and more well-rounded, and Brooklyn lost Andray Blatche, Shaun Livingston, and Paul Pierce.

At the end of the day, I think those losses will prove too difficult to overcome for the Nets.

Mason Plumlee and Joe Johnson will have solid seasons, but the weakness of the supporting cast and uncertainty of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Kevin Garnett’s health is too risky to bet on.

But once again … every NBA season is unpredictable.

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Tags: Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams Kevin Garnett Markel Brown Mason Plumlee

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