The Nets are mediocre and need to pick a direction before the trade deadline

Sean Marks must decide which directon Brooklyn is headed

Dec 8, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas (24) during the fourth quarter
Dec 8, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas (24) during the fourth quarter / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Nets fans may be split on the issue. On the one hand, the Nets have been through numerous years of rebuilds, dating from 2015-2019, where they had no lottery picks or young stars. It stemmed from Billy King's infamous trade to get Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry.

Luckily, Brooklyn has a GM who's slightly more competent. People may be tired of rebuilding. They were on the cusp of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 and were constantly in title contention during the era of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. It would disappoint many fans if they reverted back to the days of having players on the level of Sean Kilpatrick, Allen Crabbe, and Jeremy Lin.

Taking a look at team analytics, Brooklyn ranks 8th in offensive rating (117.4), 11th in true shooting percentage (58.3%), and 6th in rebounding percentage (51.8%), all good stats to have, However, their defense tells a different story, ranking 19th in defensive rating (114.6) and 19th in points allowed (114.0).

That brings up the point that maybe the Nets need a few players to guard the perimeter. They have Bridges and Simmons, but other than that, their defense hasn't held up with other players. The only question in response to this is, does grabbing another elite defender put them ahead of other East playoff teams like the Knicks, Magic, and Heat? It depends on who they trade for, but probably not.

On the other hand, the Nets could benefit down the road if they sell now. They don't have a first-round pick until 2025, and it belongs to the Suns, so they don't possess their own first-rounder until 2028. Since they don't have the personnel to contend, they could be stuck in NBA purgatory, also known as NBA mediocrity, for years.

It seems like the right idea would be to sacrifice a few more years of being bad so the Nets could be great, rather than just being good for a little while. They could certainly get pieces for this year's draft, as teams like Miami, Cleveland, and LA are looking to get back into contention after flat starts to the season, while other organizations like Dallas, Minnesota, and Philadelphia are a solid piece or two away from being serious contenders.

I just can't see the Nets making any noise with their current roster. Selling before the deadline and attempting to get a lottery/mid-first should be ideal if they aren't going all in for a star.

Karl-Anthony Towns has been rumored to be on the market for a while, but the Timberwolves currently sit atop the West, so why would they want to mess with their roster? Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan have also been in trade rumors; however, do the Nets want to give up even more assets for fringe All-Stars?

The worst thing to be in the NBA is stagnant, stuck in the middle, not great, nor bad. The Nets are the epitome of such and must pick a direction. Ideally, drafting talent would result in a long road back to the NBA's elite, but it has proved to be a reliable option for today's premier franchises.

Next. 3 huge trades the Nets could make to shake up the roster. 3 huge trades the Nets could make to shake up the roster. dark