Upsetting, frustrating, comical… You can use any number of 100 adjectives to describe the Nets plight this season. After Wednesday night’s 117-101 loss to the Mavericks, you can add one more to the list.

The Nets dropped to 0-18. Not sure what more can be said. It can’t get any worse, can it? What’s the difference between 0-18 and 0-19 or 0-20? Nothing really. What matters most is that the Nets are winless. Lawrence Frank paid the price for it last Sunday morning.

We can debate all day and night about whose falt it is. Frank, Nets owner Bruce Ratner, the economy. There’s no point. These things happen in sports. All franchises hit a dry spell at some point in their history. For some it lasts a lot longer than it should.

And that’s what really needs to be discussed. How long will the Nets be mired in this funk. And I don’t mean this season. The Nets have finished 34-48 the last two seasons. Assuming the Nets don’t make a remarkable comeback, they will miss the playoffs for the third straight season.

Nets president Rod Thorn has proven to be a great executive. He transformed the Nets from a doormat to a winner overnight. He traded for Richard Jefferson and got rid of Stephon Marbury for a future Hall-of-Fame point guard in Jason Kidd. He made a mid-season blockbuster deal to get Vince Carter, which kept the Nets among the playoff contenders.

What Thorn does or doesn’t do at the trade deadline and in the off season will be the defining moment in his legacy. The Nets will be close to $27 million under the salary cap at the end of the season. They will likely have a high lottery pick, possible the No.1. The Nets will also have several young players who will serve as building blocks for the future.

Brook Lopez, Terrence Williams and Devin Harris have shown promise. There is a hot rumor going around that the Nets may try to move Harris in a huge package to get a super star. Thorn is a master at making the big deal. Just check out the Kidd and Carter trades. He’s not afraid to pull the trigger.

With a solid big man like Lopez, there are few guards around the league who wouldn’t want to play with him. Thorn knows this and will use it as leverage in any deal he makes. So Nets fans can rest knowing Thorn is on the job. As bad as this dubious streak is, it’s not going to go on forever.

After all, we aren’t talking about the Clippers.