Brooklyn Nets: Christmas wishes to some current, former NBA execs

Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris, Jared Dudley, Spencer Dinwiddie. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris, Jared Dudley, Spencer Dinwiddie. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris, Jared Dudley, Spencer Dinwiddie. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets have benefited from the decisions of executives around the NBA — past and present — in building a team that has suddenly won 8 of 9.

Christmas is here and the Brooklyn Nets are in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference despite being without young star-in-the-making Caris LeVert for the last 21 games and counting.

The Nets are now 10-11 since LeVert sustained a dislocated right foot just before halftime of a Nov. 12 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, with much of that success coming over the last 2½ weeks.

After blowing a 23-point second-half lead in a 114-112 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 5, the Nets were 8-18 — 2-10 since losing LeVert — and were in danger of losing their season.

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They had taken gut-punch loss on top of gut-punch loss, at the time leading the NBA in the dubious category of most losses in games in which they led by at least 10 points with eight.

There was buzz that coach Kenny Atkinson might be on the hot seat, that the team might be coming apart at the seams.

With an eight-game losing streak following the loss to Oklahoma City and just a day before the Nets would take on the Toronto Raptors, who came to Barclays Center sporting the NBA’s best record, the team held a players-only film session (h/t New York Post).

The session wasn’t to complain about Player A shooting too much or Player B holding the ball too much or Player C not doing his job on defense.

Spencer Dinwiddie said the meeting took on a whole different vibe.

"“People thought we were airing out differences and stuff like that. It wasn’t like that. It literally was a film session. We discussed basketball. We kept it there. “We did find some things. It just enhances our communication from player to player, which is something you definitely need down the stretch because obviously on the court it’s only us five. Kenny can call out things, but we still have to be able to be in sync.”"

The Nets responded with an overtime win over the Raptors and that spring-boarded into a seven-game winning streak that matched the longest of the Brooklyn era, set in January 2013 during the team’s first season out of New Jersey.

The streak ended Friday with a loss at home to the Indiana Pacers, but the Nets bounced back with a win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday to get back to 8-11 at Barclays Center on the season and 8-4 in December.

This Brooklyn team came into the season wanting to make the playoffs, despite many believing the Nets would have a great incentive to tank, as they have their own first-round pick in 2019, their first since taking Mason Plumlee with the 22nd overall pick in 2013.

After LeVert’s injury, the team hit a tailspin but has recovered and now finds itself right in the thick of the race for the lower end of the playoff field in the East.

And with that, there are a few folks once or still around the NBA that deserve a Christmas card of thanks.