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Tuesday, 19 September 2017 17:03

Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics: CLNS Celtics Newsfeed's 2017-18 NBA Season Preview

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Boston Celtics Newsfeed 2017-18 NBA Season Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets | Powered by CLNS Media

          The Brooklyn Nets finished the 2016-17 season with a dismal 20-62 record, which was good for 15th in the Eastern Conference. Against the Celtics, the Nets went 0-4, a stretch that including a loss in the season opener 122-117. There  was another hard fought game against the Celts, which came on St. Patrick's Day. That night the Nets fell 98-95. While the Nets' off-season didn't have the fireworks that the Celtics' did, it was not a quiet one either. The biggest addition was the acquisition of D'Angelo Russell, the former No. 2 overall pick who was never a good fit in LA. There was a reason why he was second overall and hopefully for the Nets that will become apparent this season. It's a massive contract, but Allen Crabbe coming over in a trade from Portland is an intriguing signing. The guy can flat out shoot and he's still only 25. Plus, it's a nice story that a guy picked Number 31, Round 2 is having such an impact, especially this early in his career. Newly acquired forward DeMarre Carroll is a serviceable offensive player who could add depth to many teams'roster through coming off the bench, but for the Nets may very well be in the starting five. Training camp questions are aplenty for a team with only 20 wins last year. It starts with the head coach, Kenny Atkinson. Even for a young team, it was a miserable year last season. If the team bottoms out again, one has to wonder how much longer the team will stay with him at the helm. On the court, Brook Lopez was a major loss for the Nets and with the exception of Jeremy Lin, probably the only household name on the roster. If newbie Timofey Mozgov doesn't produce in Lopez's place, it could be a longer season than last.  After bouncing around the league for a number of years, Jeremy Lin had one of his strongest seasons last year for Brooklyn. It will be interesting to see if that is something he can build on and hopefully improve upon this winter. Next possible move the Nets make is to sign Jared Sullinger, a forward who has never realized his potential in the league. Sullinger was a stud in college at Ohio State but has underachieved in the league due to weight problems, chronic injuries, and poor work ethic. However he is still in his mid twenties with limited mileage. Perhaps there's something left in the tank. He hasn't cashed in on a big payday yet so you got to think he has motivation to perform well and be rewarded his next time as a free agent. Not a bad gamble to take on a reasonable one-year deal for a guy with the skills to be a force in the paint. The only way the Nets play the Celtics in the post-season is if they sneak in as the Number Eight seed and teams like Indiana, Detroit, Milwaukee, and New York underachieve. It would be a minor miracle. It would be an even greater miracle if the Nets were to win a game in a first-round playoff series. Only conceivable scenario would be if Boston were up 3-0 and took their foot off the gas during a fourth game and the Nets didn't want to get swept at the Barclays Center. As for regular season, same story. Only if Boston is playing in Brooklyn on the second night of a back-to-back and is snoozing through the game -- unlikely to happen under Brad Stevens. Safe bet is for Boston, an improved team after the off-season, to sweep the season series as the talent gap between the two teams is just too massive. The Nets are not trending in a positive direction -- for now. While they made some nice offseason pickups with Crabbe, Russell, Mozgov, and Carroll, they are not a legitimate playoff contender. They do not have a franchise player or anyone is close to emerging as an All-Star. That being said, they are young and there is hope that the team will improve upon their 20 win campaign from a year ago. If head coach Kenny Atkinson can get the kids to play hard each night, there's a decent chance they can win enough games so that their first-round pick (designated for the Cavaliers) is not incredibly enviable. Final Record/Standings Prediction: 28-54  11th in Eastern Conference