Future Power Rankings: Nets ranked 21st

The Nets came in at 21st in ESPN’s annual future Power Rankings.

The rankings were determined based on awarding points for players, management, money, market and draft. Four ESPN Insider analysts were tasks with rating the teams in each category.

The Nets finished 11th in players, 23rd in management, 29th in money, fourth in market and 26th in draft.

Here’s what Amin Elhassan wrote about the Nets’ outlook moving froward:

Years from now, we'll look to Brooklyn's summer of 2012 as a case study on how treacherous the waters of the new collective bargaining agreement can be.

While the panel gave the Nets a good rating for Players (ranking them 11th), there is very little upside to their talent other than Brook Lopez. What you see is what you can expect to continue to get from the majority of contributors on this team. That was and remains good enough to get the Nets into the playoffs, but it's not quite the star-studded roster that Nets fans hoped they were getting. Now, after firing Avery Johnson and choosing not to retain P.J. Carlesimo, the Nets must find a coach who can motivate and extract the most out of the existing roster.

Exacerbating the problem is the salary cap hell in which Brooklyn placed itself. Because of the new, stiffer luxury-tax penalties, the Nets will not be able to acquire players via sign-and-trade and are severely limited in the exceptions they can use. This reality extends until 2015-16, when they'll be paying almost $73 million for four players. This means they'll have to find a way to improve the team by enticing another team to trade for one of their bloated deals or by convincing free agents to sign for the minimum.

Brooklyn did rank as the fourth-best market, but given their other limitations, that alone will not be enough to bring the type of game-changing talent needed.

The Nets also traded away their second-round picks in four of the next five drafts, which robs them of the ability to draft and stash international players.

The lone silver lining is Brooklyn does have first-rounders in every draft moving forward (Atlanta owns the right to swap picks with them in 2014 and 2015), so there will still be opportunities to add cheap talent, provided they can maximize the value of those picks.

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