Nets 2017-18 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2017

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 26:  D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets speaks to the media during his introductory press conference on June 26, 2017 at HSS Training Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets continue to look toward the future. They traded away Brook Lopez and took on the bloated contracts of Timofey Mozgov and DeMarre Carroll in trades with the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors to add point guard D'Angelo Russell and a couple of future draft picks. 

Those deals don't do much to change the short-term outlook for an organization that finished with the worst record in the NBA last season at 20-62. That said, it's a couple of more steps in a rebuilding process the front office hopes puts the team in position to seriously contend down the road.

Let's check out all of the important information for the Nets' upcoming campaign following the league's schedule release. That's followed by a look at the most interesting matchups and a record prediction.

                          

2017-18 Details

Season Opener: Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Indianapolis Pacers

Championship Odds: 1.000-1 (via OddsShark)

Full Schedule: NBA.com

                       

Top Matchups

New York Knicks: First Matchup Away (Friday, Oct. 27)

The rivalry between the Nets and Knicks has never reached its full potential because the franchises haven't peaked at the same time. And both teams have struggled to contend since the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012, when the intensity could have amplified.

That said, games with the other New York City team are still among the most intriguing on Brooklyn's schedule because it doesn't figure to play many meaningful contests. Beating the Knicks could provide some sense of accomplishment in what's likely to become another long year.

One thing that could be said for the Nets is they have started to implement a clear vision for the future. While it's going to take awhile for the trees to start bearing fruit, at least the front office is making moves with a distinct plan. The Knicks are still trying to sort that out.

Perhaps one day down the line this could become one of the NBA's best rivalries. But both teams have a lot of work to do before it reaches that point.

                              

Sacramento Kings: First Matchup Home (Wednesday, Dec. 20)

This spot could have gone to any team that could challenge the Nets for the worst record in the NBA. The Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic are also contenders, but the Kings' makeshift roster and the talent level of the Western Conference could pose serious issues.

While other teams usually begin the process of tanking around midseason, once it becomes clear the playoffs aren't a realistic goal, the Nets don't have similar motivation. Their first-round pick next year once again belongs to the Boston Celtics.

The question is whether they'll be so far behind everybody else by the 41-game mark that they can't catch up, even if they're trying to win while other cellar-dwellers don't mind losing. That's what happened last season when they finished four games clear at the bottom of the standings.

If the Nets do surprise some people and at least become more competitive, games against the Kings could end up being the difference in avoiding another year in last place.

                             

Record Prediction

This season is all about growth and development for the Nets.

It starts with Russell, who will look to prove he can become one of the foundation pieces as Brooklyn tries to slowly accumulate top-tier assets that could eventually allow it to contend in the "superteam" era. He's got that type of upside, but he's a work in progress.

The front office will also look for improvement from the likes of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert. They aren't elite assets, but they could be valuable rotation pieces if the experience they gain leads to more efficient production moving forward.

Shaun Powell of NBA.com passed along comments from Nets general manager Sean Marks, who admitted this won't be an overnight fix.

"Ownership was behind us when I said, 'This is how we're going to do it,' which is what I needed to hear," he said. "We all signed up for this. We've got a long, long long way to go but we're taking baby steps to get there."

Nets fans will hope everything goes according to plan in the years ahead. In the short term, however, it's hard to imagine a campaign without a lot of losses involved.

Prediction: 18-64