There wasn’t a single surprised soul inside the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn as the Nets lost 129-109 to the Portland Trail Blazers. Jeremy Lin is still out with his mysterious hamstring injury, and no one knows when he’ll actually be back.
The Nets have lost four in a row, falling to 4-9 this season. They’ve given up 124 points or more in four consecutive games. When you give up that many points, and get blown out in three of those games, diving into more meaningful statistics like defensive rating doesn’t matter. But for those who care: The Nets “best” defensive effort was allowing 115.7 points per 100 possessions in one of the losses. In 13 games this season, they’ve given up less than 100 points just twice. Having Lin won’t fix all of their defensive problems, but it changes everything for the Nets on both ends of the floor. Isaiah Whitehead isn’t really a solution, and Sean Kilpatrick, at least going by his shooting percentage in the loss to the Blazers, isn’t happy about going back to the bench, even if he isn’t really a point guard.
When does Lin come back? This is what Kenny Atkinson said, cryptic as ever: Jeremy’s progressing well. I cant give a timetable in terms of a specific day he’s back. He’s progressing on schedule. Something else worth noting is Caris LeVert: The rookie still hasn’t made an appearance this season. He’s on individual shooting drills, but that was four days ago, and it won’t be too surprising if his first game in his NBA career will be held up until 2017.
The problem is that no one really knows the schedule. The early projections were two weeks out since the hamstring injury against the Detroit Pistons. That was over two weeks ago. The next game for the Nets is against the Boston Celtics, which will make it three weeks out for Lin. Maybe he’ll make his return then. The Nets, on a four-game losing streak, desperately need it. They are closing November with three home games out of four, without any back-to-backs. If Lin is ready to go, this is the time to bring him back, before the life is zapped out of this season for the Nets.
It’s good to see the Nets thinking long term and not being in a rush to push him back on the court too early. But if this season is going to be about more than just trying to come together as a team and winning more games than last season, the Nets need Lin on the floor. Maybe they won’t last the entire playoff race, but looking like a team that can keep up with some bubble teams in the East would make things more interesting for the fanbase, probably preferring the front office and coaching staff to be a little less secretive about things like player injury status.