It has been a long few weeks for the Nets, who returned home Monday night to the friendly confines of the Barclays Center after being on the road since Feb. 12 — a largely successful road trip in which the Nets went 4–3 (despite an absolute annihilation at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers) and came within a game of .500.
And with Monday’s victory over the Bulls, the Nets have reached the even money slot for the first time since they were 2–2 on Nov.5. For a team with championship aspirations, no one would have thought it would have taken until March 3 to get back to respectability.
And yet, even with the record reaching the positive, the biggest story out of Brooklyn, even 10 days later, remains Jason Collins.
He’s only been playing around eight minutes per game, but his contribution thus far has been enough to earn him another 10-day contract. You wouldn’t know it from looking at a box score, but Collins is doing all the things that coaches love that go largely unnoticed — including setting screens, boxing out, and playing solid defense.
He won’t return the Nets to the preseason status of championship contender, but he is a nice luxury to have on the far end of the bench, especially as Kevin Garnett continues to ail with back pain. And it always helps to have another mentor for young Mason Plumlee.
Whatever Collins does with his eight minutes or two minutes or zero minutes a game, as long as it continues to help propel the Nets above and beyond .500, we’re all for it.
Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high-school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.