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Are the Nets off to a slower start than the Lakers?

Not too long ago, the Lakers and Nets were viewed as title favorites. Now the two sides are battling at the bottom of the NBA early in 2022.

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Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Rewind back to the summer of 2021, and the Lakers and Nets were seen as two of the frontrunners for the NBA title, rightly or wrongly. Fast forward to present day and the two teams combined have three wins through their opening 13 combined games, and the Nets parted ways with their head coach on Tuesday morning (while the Lakers already dumped their head coach to kick off the offseason).

It’s a far, far fall from where expectations sat eighteen months ago but shows the nature of the NBA where one slip-up — or a series of them as the Nets and Lakers have done — can lead to the league passing you by.

The Nets seem far away from contention as is but are one of the highlight games on Tuesday on TNT against the Bulls.

DraftKings odds

There are a number of things wrong with the Nets this season. Despite having two of the top scorers in the league, their offense ranks 16th in offensive rating. Their defense has been abysmal, ranking 29th in the league. Their minus-6.5 net rating ranks three spots below the Lakers.

But it’s one specific stat that we’re targeting tonight: rebounding. The Nets are a really bad rebounding team. Their rebound percentage is bottom in the league and the difference between them and 29th is the same difference as 29th to 20th.

They allow an offensive rebound on 35.9% of missed shots, which basically means one of every three missed shots by the opposing offense is rebounded by the opponent. Yes, that is last in the league.

Enter Nikola Vucevic. Although not known as a bruising big man like his teammate Andre Drummond — who unfortunately does not have a prop bet on the board for DraftKings — Vucevic is still a respectable rebounder. His 20.3% rebound rate and 11.1% offensive rebound rate both rank high in the league even early in the season.

His over/under on rebounds on DraftKings isn’t low at 11.5, but I have faith in him and faith in the lack of rebounding the Nets have. Brooklyn just has lots of weird vibes right now and until they turn that around, I’d be comfortable betting against them in many manners.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

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