How many game-winning shots will JJ hit next season? Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets: Over/Under Predictions For Next Season

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So, here we are.

It’s Aug. 10. The NBA season has long been over. The draft is over. The exciting part of free agency is over. Heck, even summer league is over.

What do we do with ourselves for the next two months until the preseason starts?! (Besides desperately watching WNBA games.)

We speculate. We rank. We predict.

It’s the only way we know how to ease the pain and suffering that comes with waiting for the NBA to begin anew.

With that overly dramatic opening, here is my edition of Over/Under: Brooklyn Nets style!

Let’s begin.

Is Lopez due for a healthy year? Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Over/Under: 50 games played for Brook Lopez?

Over.

Brook Lopez has played in only 96 of 246 regular season games the past three years with lingering foot and ankle issues. He also missed last season’s entire playoff run.

BUT, his first three years in the Association, Lopez didn’t miss a single game! Hard to believe, right?

So, which Brook Lopez are we going to see next season? A recent report says that Brooklyn’s big man is “fully cleared to play,” although he might be on a minutes limit.

I’m gonna go ahead and think positively here, trusting the docs and predicting that new Nets’ coach Lionel Hollins will manage Lopez efficiently.

However, if I anticipate that Brook Lopez will stay relatively healthy and play more than 50 games next year, then I have no choice but to predict that Deron Williams or Kevin Garnett will inevitably get inured.

Why, you ask? Because it’s extremely rare for a team as old and fragile as the Brooklyn Nets to all be healthy and clicking at the same time.

For example, the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol were injured on and off. Then, when they both finally came back, Kobe went down with his achilles injury. They couldn’t all stay on the court at the same time.

Or the late 2000s Boston Celtics, where KG got injured in ’09, then Kendrick Perkins got injured in 2010. Both of those injuries cost Boston a chance to win another title.

And, of course, there’s the Brooklyn Nets of the past few years, juggling the injuries of Lopez, Garnett, and Williams.

Speaking of D-Will…

Will Deron Williams ever find his All-Star form again? Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Over/Under: 15ppg for Deron Williams?

Under.

The real question here should be “Over/Under: 1 Good Ankle?”

I mean, we’re talking about a guy who, just three years ago, averaged 21 points, 9 assists, and was an All-Star. And he averaged 19 points merely two seasons ago. But last year, his scoring total dropped to 14 points per game.

Similar to Brook Lopez’s situation, which Deron Williams are we going to see?

Unlike Lopez, D-Will is 30 years old. Injuries and dwindling numbers for him have more big-picture, career implications. Unfortunately, I think that means the decline of Deron Williams.

And with Joe Johnson shooting well, Jarrett Jack on his heels, an emerging Mason Plumlee, and the prospect of a healthy Brook Lopez, D-Will’s scoring role will keep shrinking and shrinking, whether he’s healthy or not.

Plus, if Williams’ ankles act up and he does indeed miss time, then it’ll be hard for him to get into any kind of rhythm on offense.

Hopefully, the Brooklyn Nets scoring attack can be led by …

Joe Johnson has earned a “clutch” reputation. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Over/Under: 3 Joe Johnson game-winning shots?

Push.

Two seasons ago, Iso Joe (a way better nickname than JJ) hit four game-winning shots. Last season, he hit two.

The average of that is 3. That’s my guess. Kinda just fun to think about.

What’s really important is that, come late fourth quarter crunch time, I want the ball in Joe Johnson’s hands. He’s earned it.

Over/Under: 45 wins?

Under.

Barely.

My forecast for the 2014-15 Brooklyn Nets is a 41-41 record.

Whether it’s Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, or KG, odds are someone is gonna miss time with an injury. That hurts.

Also, losing Paul Pierce and Andray Blatche‘s offense isn’t going to be good for a team who was already ranked 21st in scoring last season, only averaging 98.5ppg as a club.

I think Lionel Hollins can do a lot with this roster, especially Plumlee and Lopez, if they stay healthy. And I like how the Nets have gotten younger. But Brooklyn lost a lot of weapons this offseason, and there are just a too many uncertainties right now to tell how everything will shape out.

A race for the eighth seed in the East and a .500 record is a safe bet for the Brooklyn Nets next year.

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Tags: Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams Joe Johnson

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