Kathy Willens/Associated Press
After a horrific start to this past season, the Brooklyn Nets turned it around once the calendar flipped to 2014, winning 34 of its last 51 games and earning a trip to the second round of the playoffs.
However, don't expect the Nets to have similar successes next year.
While Brooklyn will receive a boost with Brook Lopez returning from injury, there are still a multitude of reasons to be down on this team.
Starting at the top: Deron Williams continued a years-long trend of diminishing performance last season, and there's no reason to expect that will change in 2014-15.
Additionally, assuming he exercises his player option and returns, the Nets can't count on significant contributions from Kevin Garnett. At this stage of his career, he's no longer even an asset.
As for Lopez, while he'll begin the season healthy, there's no guarantee he'll finish 2014-15 in such a state. He's played fewer than 100 games in the past three seasons combined.
Furthermore, it remains a real possibility that one of Brooklyn's few semi-young contributors Shaun Livingston, as well as Paul Pierce, leaves during the free-agency period.
Whether the two return or not, with a core that is aging, declining in ability and injury-prone, life can only go downhill for Brooklyn going forward.