The Nets are passing the test that the schedulers put in front of them.
They won their third straight game in Minnesota on Wednesday night, outlasting an undermanned Timberwolves team for a 91-83 victory. It wasn't the most impressive performance of the season or the week for the Nets, but style points don't matter in the NBA.
With the win, they are just a half-game back of the Knicks as the MSG squad prepares for a trip to Boston and a crowd ready to serenade Carmelo Anthony with taunts about Honey Nut Cheerios. Since making the change to P.J. Carlesimo, the Nets are 12-2 and playing as well as anyone in basketball.
Isn't it time, then, to accept that they're a pretty decent basketball team and stop the pining for players who currently wear other uniforms? Not at the Daily News, where the entire story about Wednesday night's win has to do with trading for Dwight Howard.
Perhaps we'd understand it if the Nets were winning crazy games by outgunning opponents who scored on them easily. Coming into the season, the defense was the biggest question mark about the Brooklyn side so it would make sense to hear agitation for Howard if the defense was suffering.
They aren't struggling on defense, though, and have actually seen a pretty remarkable level of improvement from Brook Lopez on that end of the floor. He's not the second coming of Dikembe Mutombo or anything, but he's no longer a liability on defense and remains a highly effective offensive player.
Howard, meanwhile, looks like a shell of his former self. He's gone from one of the three or four best players in the league to a fringe All-Star almost overnight and, most shockingly, the Lakers are a better defensive team when he's off the floor this season.
Back surgery has irreversibly changed many players over the years -- Larry Johnson comes to mind -- and, at this point, Howard looks like he might be the latest addition to the list. The only reason the Nets would trade for him at this point is because of his name value, something that would be a bleak turn for a team that isn't showing any signs of needing to go that route to drum up interest.
And that's just now. Rolling the dice on Howard for the next four or five years is even riskier since you'd be jettisoning any assets of value to get him.
Lopez is an All-Star, Deron Williams has decided to play now that he's gotten rid of Avery Johnson and the Nets are gelling after some early struggles in the chemistry department. Don't try to fix what isn't broken and the Nets are decidedly unbroken right now.