The Nets’ season came to a crashing end on Tuesday night as they got blown out in epic fashion, losing Game 5, and the series, to the Sixers. They couldn’t overcome their horrendous shooting to start the game, and things only got worse as the game clock ticked. Despite their disappointing end, the future is bright in Brooklyn for the first time in a long time.

Caris Levert had a great series after spending the second half of the season recovering from his gruesome leg injury in November. D’Angelo Russell didn’t have a stellar series, but showed enough flashes throughout the season that the Nets know they have a centerpiece in the 23-year-old. Jarrett Allen was again dominated by Joel Embiid but kept his composure throughout, and Spencer Dinwiddie showed why he deserved his big extension. The ownership and front office stood behind their players in the midst of Sean Marks’ suspension for entering the referee’s locker room. It appears the franchise has finally recovered from the nuclear disaster of a trade that was the Billy King-Celtics transaction.

They still have a long way to go, of course. But to reach the playoffs and play the way that they did, with players they had to scrape and fight to acquire without any draft picks, is downright impressive. They put on a show for prospective free agents and proved they have a future- which is all Nets fans could really ask for after the darkness of the last half-decade.

It’s been a long, hard road. But the Nets have a good coach, a smart GM, and young pieces to build around. Add in a top free agent or luck into another good draft pick, and the Nets, as hard as it is to imagine, are serious contenders. They might be going home empty-handed this year, but the next few years? Anything can happen.