Sure, the Nets have a 10-5 overall record on the season and are third place in the Eastern Conference. But after losing a first-quarter lead and eventually getting upended by the visiting Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, head coach Steve Nash said his team can't be considered one of the big guns -- at least, not at the moment.
"Well, I just don't think we're in that category yet," Nash said, via ESPN. "(We have) got a lot of work to do. We're trying to improve as a group, get better, and hopefully, we can find a way to overcome some of our deficiencies by the end of the year."
At one end of that argument, you have to just give credit to the Warriors. They are the healthiest and most dominant they have been in a few seasons and have the veteran presence in place to make great things happen.
On the other end of the spectrum, this is a Nets team that, despite their overall record and the big-name players they have in their lineup, hasn't been playing a full competitive game against the top teams in the league and has a crop of new players who are still trying to mesh together.
"We have to find our identity," James Harden said. "We're still a brand-new team, so we still have to find out what we're good at, what we're great at, what we can be great at, and it's gonna take a long season."
Again, it's certainly interesting to hear something like that from a star like Harden, who plays alongside a huge star like Kevin Durant. Because even with Kyrie Irving still out because he refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, there is enough star power on this Nets team to create an identity despite how many new players are there.
At this early point in the season, apparently, Brooklyn still has some soul-searching to do.
"We started the year with a continuity plan from last year that got thrown out the window obviously when [Kyrie Irving] didn't come back, so we're trying to build and figure it out," Nash said. "But we played a really good defense. It really tests you. And I think tonight was a great lesson for us that we got to double down on some of our principles when the going gets tough."