dunno if this has been posted but great to see Nets as a contender to some writers.
They are the NBA's stealth contenders. Five teams that rarely find themselves atop the list of preseason favorites to win the title.
But why not the Nets, Rockets, Clippers, Wizards or Pacers?
Why do these five teams, four of whom have won playoff series within the past two years (the lone exception, the Rockets, lost to the Mavs in seven games two years ago), get overlooked so often when talk turns of who will be playing next June?
OK, so maybe they don't have the credentials of top clubs like the Spurs, Mavs, Heat and Suns. But do they deserve to be behind the likes of the Cavs, Pistons and Bulls when it comes to projecting the two NBA finalists?
Here's a look at the under-the-radar teams:
New Jersey Nets
Why They're Contenders
In Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson, the Nets boast one of the top trios in the league. They also have a blossoming 7-foot center in Nenad Krstic, who can shoot from outside and score in the post. Jason Collins and Cliff Robinson provide veteran experience down low. Eddie House, Antoine Wright and rookie Marcus Williams give them a stronger bench.
Why They're Pretenders
The bench remains a question mark, with House recovering from a knee injury, Wright an unproven commodity and Williams a rookie. Also, Kidd turns 34 in March and it would not be a surprise if he started to show signs of slowing down. There's also the possibility that Carter's uncertain future (he can opt out of his contract after the season) could become a distraction.
The Final Analysis
It's a bit of a stretch to say the Nets are disrespected, since many pundits have picked them to come out of the East. But for a team with arguably the best starting unit in the conference, one would think they would be at the top of the list to displace the Heat.
Chance Of Making Finals
Better than a lot of people think.