What the Hell Are the Brooklyn Nets?

Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Brooklyn Nets have lost six in a row and sit at sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They are only 3.5 games back of the pacesetting Chicago Bulls but also only 1.5 games clear of the play-in tournament. To say the first 51 games of the season have existed on a perpetual roller coaster would be an understatement. Unique roster construction around three mercurial superstars has resulted in inevitable yet unpredictable manic swings. There is a chance stability exists somewhere down the road but it wouldn't be a safe bet.

Kyrie Irving, whose proprietary knowledge of medicine will prevent him from playing home games for the foreseeable future, is lamenting how little he's been able to play with Kevin Durant and James Harden. Harden is complaining that if you breathe on someone, it's a foul. While those two compete for most realistic impression of the Hot Dog from I Think You Should Leave, the true heart and soul of the Nets continues to play like the best basketball player in the world when available. Brooklyn's losing skid began the moment he was no longer healthy enough to play.

Last night brought a humiliating loss to the lowly Sacramento Kings. "I think we've done too much talking, we just have to go out there and do it, and do it consistently," Harden said postgame. "We have times where we're great, then we have times where we're really bad. We just have to find some consistency throughout the course of the games."

Such self-awareness has been in short supply. And could portend good things for the future.

We knew Brooklyn would be an enigma yet we didn't expect them to be quite so enigmatic. The simple fact remains that when Harden, Irving, and Durant all play together, most people would take them and hope for the best, regardless of opponent. Certainly in the East. The NBA Finals may be a different story.

It wouldn't be stunning to see the Nets forced to play their way in. It wouldn't be stunning to seem them snag the No. 2 or even No. 1 seed. Hell, glory and everything in between is very much in play. If they were a stock no analyst could confidently tell you what to do with it. Some think the sky is falling and it'd be prudent to get out of the position. Others are studying track records and buying the dip.

Perhaps it was always supposed to be like this. That we'd be 60 percent of the way through the NBA season and still have not the foggiest idea about what the Nets will look like when it matters most.