Thirty five percent said they believe the Nets will miss the playoffs due to the Lopez injury. Conversely, just 12% said they thought the team would come together in spite of Lopez being out for the remainder of the season. More than half (53%) of respondents said the Nets will make the playoffs, but exit early. Overall, 65% of readers believe Brooklyn will still make the postseason.
At this point, the Atlantic division is the only thing saving Nets fans from jumping off the ledge, myself included. When I heard the Lopez news, I was stunned. I also tweeted, "Season over." Was that drastic? Maybe, but it was my knee jerk reaction. Now that I've had a few days to let the news digest, I'm still upset, but I do think the Nets can stay afloat. In fact, I'd argue that this is probably the only season that the Nets could survive this type of injury.
The Eastern Conference is so watered down, and the Atlantic division is such a cluster-you-know-what, that the Nets can actually still come through the other side of this injury. To do this, they'll need to get Andrei Kirilenko healthy and fast. That will allow Andray Blatche, Mirza Teletovic, Kevin Garnett, and Kirilenko to pick up the slack in the front court left by Brook's injury.
But there's a bigger issue at play here for Nets fans: buyer's remorse. In talking to some fans this weekend, most were pretty despondent. Almost every one of them, to a man, bemoaned the lack of a first round draft pick and Billy King's all in strategy.
"It feels a traditional rebuild could have been just about done by now," one long time Nets fan told me. "Had they not gone ballistic with the Wallace, Johnson, Garnett and Pierce moves, I feel like we'd be coming of age with a ton of money to spend to add a key veteran ingredient. Now, I feel like the franchise is set back another five years."