Jeremy Lin is right: Brooklyn Nets can make the playoffs

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 6: Jeremy Lin
ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 6: Jeremy Lin /
ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 6: Jeremy Lin
ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 6: Jeremy Lin /

Jeremy Lin has supreme confidence in his team. The point guard believes the Brooklyn Nets can make the playoffs next season. He may be right.

Everyone laughed at Jeremy Lin’s assertion.

The Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs? Most people’s choice of words for their response came right from WWE owner Vince McMahon’s signature theme music: no chance in hell.

There’s a chance though. Depending on the health of the team and the intentions of the other teams in the Eastern Conference, there may be a pretty good chance.

The Nets are all about culture. Another team that accelerated their rebuild through the use of culture was the Boston Celtics. Under head coach Brad Stevens, the team withstood only one losing season before turning its fortunes around during the 2014-15 season.

After tanking away the 2013-14 season, the first without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics made the playoffs in 2015. Stevens was able to make the most out of a young roster, and the team was able to acquire the versatile Jae Crowder and eventual team leader Isaiah Thomas for a disgruntled Rondo and spare parts.

Kenny Atkinson is similar to Stevens in many ways. He is  player-friendly coach. You won’t see him bark at his players like a Bob Knight or a Doc Rivers. His attitude is even-keeled and generally calm.

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Sean Marks, in a way, has a similar asset-hoarding mindset to Danny Ainge. Asset hoarding is the main goal of both. Marks has already done a fantastic job acquiring draft picks after inheriting a team that didn’t have many.

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The Nets know through their own mistakes that team-building trumps throwing together a bunch of aging All-Stars to win now. It was the Celtics patience that helped the team begin rebuilding the right way. It was Billy King’s great mistake that facilitated that.

Now, the team has acquired assets, some of which will help the team improve next season.

The Nets won 20 games last season with Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead starting most of the games at point guard. While both players are talented, it’s not a stretch to say D’Angelo Russell is a monumental upgrade over them.

While losing Brook Lopez hurt the team, he was one of the Nets’ only assets. They at least got a serviceable replacement in Timofey Mozgov (you know, the guy that helped spurn an Eastern Conference title run for the Cleveland Cavaliers two years ago).

Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Whitehead and Dinwiddie all figure to take a step forward next year. The team has been building chemistry on the court in Las Vegas Summer League and off the court throughout the offseason. Jarrett Allen could prove to be  a useful modern big capable of throwing down lobs and protecting the rim.

DeMarre Carroll could help the younger guys thrive. Perhaps he can return to his 39 percent 3-point shooting from 2015-16 and be an ideal three-and-D wing for Atkinson.

Lin himself may become an All-Star. At the very least he could get plenty of fan support should he have a strong first half-showing.

Look up and down the Nets roster. There aren’t marquee names, but there are guys that can play their role under a coach that preaches togetherness. Hero-ball no longer win championships. The Golden State Warriors have emphatically announced that to the league. The 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks stunned the league using ball movement. The San Antonio Spurs wrote the book on it.

The Nets seem poised to follow those teams’ lead. The Eastern Conference has gotten significantly weaker with all of the superstar movement to the West.

Everything might fall into place for the Brooklyn Nets. Jeremy Lin may be right: the Nets could make the playoffs.