So much Cavs talk, but really what is Cavs talk without measuring them against other playoff contenders?
BRK- While a 1-2 record this early in the season isn't a harbinger of doom it is a little disconcerting for the Nets. First they had at least a day off between each game which is what they need with a starting lineup that has aged like a fine wine, ie overpriced because a bunch of New Yorkers want to talk about something and flash their money around. If they are 1-2 with rest and relaxation between games how will this team look when they are playing a west coast swing with 4 games in 5 nights? The second worry is that their two losses came against teams that combined to win 5 fewer games than the Nets did last season. But there are some positives as well.
Starting with the good.
Paul Pierce is keeping his production up there with last season so far this year. 21.6.5/3.5 per 36 are great numbers for a 36 year old and fears that they were getting the Pierce of last years playoffs seem unfounded. The Nets also have kept him around the 30 min mark in each game.
Jason Terry looks like a contributor to a solid team in limited mins off the bench- only 20 in 3 games and he hasn't made it to the FT line yet, but any production from a guy that was basically dead salary in the exchange is a positive for the Nets.
Through 3 games Lopez is running out the same stat line that got him to the all star game last season. While his reputation is one of being fragile he played in 82 games 3 straight seasons to start his career and 74 last year. If his foot is ok his in line for another all-star appearance.
Their one win did come against the defending champs, so they have that going for them, which is nice. That one point win shows that they can hang with the Heat, BUT
In their two losses the Nets were out rebounded by a large margin, 11 in Cle and 12 in Orl. This is a serious problem as their lineup is filled with mediocre rebounders. Lopez is well known for being a poor rebounder for his position, Garnett is no longer in the elite and has fallen into the good range of rebounders in the NBA. Pierce is good for his position, but Johnson and Williams are nothing notable in this category (well except for Johnson, a guy listed at 6'8" with terriffic athleticism averaging less than 4 rebounds per 36 the past two seasons). Reggie Evans is a guy that can solve their rebounding woes, but has been limited to 10 mins a game so far this year as his complete lack of an offensive game makes it hard to capitalize on those extra possessions.
Also in the bad column comes Kevin Garnett. A one time iron man in Minnesota he went 6 seasons straight missing only 3 total games while averaging almost 40 mins per game he has recently been relegated to barely 30 per game and still missed between 6 and 25 games a year in his stint in Boston. So far he has averaged 25 mins a game with BRK and he has yet to fit into the offense well. He has attempted only 1 FT so far this season and is scoring fewer than 8 ppg.
The defense that KG is supposed to be anchoring is also struggling in the bottom third of the league. If KG and the rest of the team can't lock down their opponents then assumption that the ship will right when Deron returns to health and effectiveness isn't one I would want to bet $175 million on.
Brooklyn is still a playoff team but for a team to field 5 starters who have all played in an all-star game the past two seasons they have some significant holes. Teams that rebound well will earn extra chances, teams that contest jumpers well will give them fits defensively. As of now they look more like a team destined to fight for the 4 or 5 seed rather than one fighting for a shot at a championship.