The Nets at the Break - NBC New York

The Nets at the Break

How you feel about the Nets all depends on when you look



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    The Nets have been pulled in every direction this season.

    Since the Nets have played 53 of their 82 games, it's not technically the halfway point of their season. 

    That's only if you stop at the regular season, though. If the Nets wind up playing 106 games this year, they would, at the very least, be playing a seventh game in the second round of the playoffs. 

    Is that a good result for this team? If you checked in November, when they were 11-4 and Avery Johnson was the coach of the month, it probably seemed like a disappointing outcome. 

    During the December slide that cost Johnson his job, that level of playoff advancement seemed like a pipe dream. And so it went through P.J. Carlesimo's halcyon first days through six losses in nine games right up to an impressive pair of wins without Deron Williams this week. 

    Figuring out which of these Nets teams is the "real" Nets team is a fruitless task because all of them are the real Nets. The issue is getting the good side to shine more consistently in the second half. 

    That Nets team is a very tough out thanks to their balance on both sides of the court. The team that struggles looks a step slow for every pace and works as five individuals instead of in smooth cohesion. 

    Here's a look back at what they did in the first half as we try to suss out the best way for the Nets to move forward. 

    Deron Williams: He's been good, but the team needs him to be great and that might not be physically possible given how much we've heard about his various aches and pains so far this season. When a team is as inconsistent as the Nets have been, you can't help but look at their leader as the reason why things can't stay on track. 

    Joe Johnson: Johnson has somehow wound up confirming both his supporters and critics. He's an elite shooter who fits well in the Nets' half-court sets while also throwing in way too many invisible games for a player being paid like a superstar. 

    Brook Lopez: Adding a modicum of defense to his already strong offensive game has pushed Lopez up a rung or two in the league while also keeping the Nets afloat when their backcourt gets dysfunctional. The longer he keeps this up, the more he's likely to be the guy causing trade rumors than the one being floated in them. 

    Gerald Wallace: The team needs to take Wallace's cue energy-wise more often because there have been too many nighs when he's out there on his own in the tempo department. Playing fewer minutes should give him a shot at remaining healthy. 

    Reggie Evans: His rebounding and physical presence on the interior are invaluable. His inability to do anything on offense clogs things up on that side of the floor. 

    Kris Humphries: He got benched by Johnson and Carlesimo hasn't seemed too enthralled by him. They'd love to trade him, but he's not exactly a desirable player. 

    C.J. Watson: His turnovers are down, but so are his assists and he remains prone to nights where it seems like the net is locked up with plastic wrap. Williams' injuries have possibly left him overextended, something to watch moving forward. 

    Keith Bogans: The corner three is the hottest thing in basketball and Bogans is a man who lives on the trends. Useful shooters off the bench who also work on defense have a place in any rotation. 

    Andray Blatche: Blatche's remarkably good play may just be the result of a talented player facing the end of a career rope he burnt up in Washington. If so, all the better for the Nets since they probably need to let someone else pay him after this year anyway. 

    Tyshawn Taylor: Too little playing time to draw any conclusions, but he did play savior in the win over the Pacers this week. It would be nice to see more, but far nicer to have a healthy Williams. 

    MarShon Brooks: He's barely in the rotation, which isn't something that works well for guys who need the ball in their hands to be successful. It's hard to see what role he has going forward in Brooklyn, which is probably why he keeps popping up in trade rumors. 

    Jerry Stackhouse: He had some really strong moments at the start of the year, but he hasn't played this month. It could be a case of saving limited ammunition for the stretch, although it's hard to see whose minutes he'd take away right now.

    Mirza Teletovic/Tornike Shengaila: Hopefully something about the U.S. has been a hit with them because the basketball thing hasn't really panned out for them. 

    P.J. Carlesimo: He got things moving in the right direction after taking over -- it didn't hurt that Williams decided he was okay with the coach again -- and the team recovered well from some serious thumpings to close out the half with two wins. He still needs to eliminate the wild swings, but Carlesimo's done nothing to earn serious criticism since moving into the top seat. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.