Coming into the 2012-13 season, the Brooklyn Nets had high hopes and were talking a big game.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov called the New York Knicks the "second team in New York" (on FOX 5, via ESPN New York), and even Hall of Famer Charles Barkley proclaimed the Nets to be the "best team in New York" (per NY Daily News).
This seemed fairly reasonable, as the Nets had acquired Joe Johnson's max contract from the Atlanta Hawks, which helped convince Olympic gold medalist Deron Williams to re-sign with the team. Ostensibly, this gave them one of the best backcourt tandems in the NBA.
But over the first three games of the season, the Nets have disappointed on their way to a 1-2 record. While it's a very small sample size, their performances haven't included outlying factors and anomalies. They have simply played poorly.
On opening night at Barclays Center, the Nets won 107-100, but they struggled to put away the Toronto Raptors, an improved team that is still expected to finish last in the Atlantic division.
Two evenings later, the Nets frittered away a 22-point lead with under 10 minutes left in the third quarter. From there, they were outscored 58-25 and lost 107-96 to a Minnesota Timberwolves team missing Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.
The Nets were out-rebounded 19 to 4 in the fourth quarter. And that's without Kevin Love.
And on November 7, the Nets were blown off the court by the Miami Heat, 103-73.
While it's still extremely early and they will certainly play better going forward, this is not the start that the Nets or their fans wanted to see. They've been inconsistent on offense and porous on defense.
It will take 20 games to see who this Nets team really is, but the first three games have yielded some lessons and highlighted areas that need fixing. Here are six early surprises from the Nets tremendously talented, handsomely paid backcourt.