Nets playoff preview: How confident should we be in Brooklyn?

Kevin Durant vs Giannis
Many tab the Brooklyn Nets as title favorites. Photo from CBS.

The Brooklyn Nets playoff chances are pretty good but even though many consider them favourites in the East there are still question marks on how it will all go.

During the season it went pretty well, as the Nets secured the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference ahead of the Bucks.

They also did it without playing their stars half the time as the big 3 only played a handful of games together. Considering they had a rookie coach and all those injuries, it’s quite an achievement to end up as the 2nd seed in a solid Eastern conference.

Nets Playoff chances

Before the season started, Vegas set their win total at 45 wins and they were not listed as one of the teams that were considered heavy favourites to go all the way. Besides the Lakers and Bucks, who were at the top of most lists, we could also see teams like the Celtics and Clippers ahead of them. Those lists somewhat changed after the James Harden trade. This trend continued as the season went on, so quite a few of them have the Nets as the favourite to win it all at the moment.

Offseason moves

The clear goal for the Nets front office before the season started was surrounding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with quality players that could alleviate some of the load the duo inevitably would have to carry to make the team successful.

Their offseason was very quiet for the most part. Of course, the trade for Harden created shockwaves around the league but it happened after the season started. It cost them Caris LeVert and Jarret Allen. They also signed Jeff Green in free agency and acquired Bruce Brown Jr.

Several players left in the offseason as well. Garrett Temple, Justin Anderson, Wilson Chandler, Lance Thomas and Donta Hall all departed. They resigned Joe Harris which was a huge move for them and they retained Tyler Johnson.


How the season went

The season went rather well considering all the circumstances. It was not a smooth ride by any means.

Durant was injured, Kyrie was injured. Harden was injured. Blake Griffin was acquired as well as LaMarcus Aldridge. At one point they seemed to have a starting five consisting of current or former All-Stars. Aldridge sadly retired due to heart problems, Griffin is not what he use to be but still can contribute while the big 3 should be ready for the postseason.

At one point their injuries seemed to cast doubt over their ability to stay on the floor when it matters the most but if reports are true, they should be good to go. Durant played 30, Irving 50 and Harden 34 games. They played only 7 games together. Contrary to popular belief, that might prove very beneficial for the Nets in the playoffs. Their current record demonstrates that even without one of their big 3 the Nets are more than capable of beating good teams.

In February they had a run when they dropped only one game in 15 games. They defeated the Clippers, Lakers, Celtics, Suns. One must not forget the injury to Spencer Dinwiddie whose shooting would do wonders for this team in the postseason. If they keep up their level the Nets playoff chances are pretty good but if they raise it they will be a threat to win it all.

Key Players

A team that has James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving essentially has three key players but even between them, one stands the tallest. James Harden has shined the brightest in Brooklyn when he played.

His play has been on an MVP level. It’s quite a transformation from the Harden that came into the Rockets camp out of shape. Had he not injured himself it would have been a tight race between him and Jokic but it was not meant to be.

Brooklyn looked the best with Harden in the team regardless of whether Irving or Durant played. His level will have a dramatic impact on the Nets playoff chances and considering he should be fresher than usual we could see an MVP level from Harden in the postseason.

Nets Playoff rotation

The basis of the team is centered around the big three whose play will be dissected in detail in the postseason. The team should be healthy going into the postseason which will be interesting to watch considering we only saw them in 7 games so far.

Naturally, they will occupy 3 starting roles on the team and most of the times at least two of them will share the court. It’s quite obvious why. DeAndre Jordan will occupy the centre position while the SF position will be reserved for the always reliable Joe Harris.

He has been the most consistent Nets player this season, not missing a single game. He averaged 14 points per game while shooting 47.8 % from three. His three-point shooting will be key for the Nets playoff chances.

Griffin is the biggest name on the bench and a player who can still contribute on the offensive side of the ball. The same can be said for Landry Shamet. Green is another veteran who can give you 20 minutes per game with the rest of the bench filled with players who are not expected to contribute much in the postseason. Mike James, Nicolas Claxton and Brown will get some minutes but they will hardly swing a game in your favour.

Nets playoff chances: Final thoughts and expectations

The Nets are currently considered one of the teams that could win it all and for good reason.

The talent they have is ridiculous but it hinges on Steve Nash’s ability to make it all work. The offence should revolve around Durant, Irving and Harden but the bench will have to contribute a lot if the Nets hope to go far.

Offensively they are one of the best teams in the league while defensively they will have a rough time especially when it comes to playoff basketball. Injuries that have plagued them in the season will need to be avoided as well.

Anything worse than a Conference final appearance would be a catastrophe. A team assembled to win the Larry O’Brien trophy simply can’t afford to slip up early in the postseason. They have enough individual talent to overcome lesser teams. Team chemistry could be an issue but an even bigger issue could be injuries that have not bypassed them so far this season.

If they are healthy, it’s hard to beat them, you simply have too much to worry about. It’s enough to say, Durant, Harden, Irving.

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About Drew Tate 18 Articles
Drew Tate is a long time NBA fan and basketball enthusiast. He has followed the best basketball league in the world for over 15 years. After watching it for such a long time, Drew developed an interest in writing about the league, which they have done for the past several years. Drew's main interest in the league is the players whose development he has followed keenly ever since their college days. Besides that, he enjoys anything that involves analyzing the game of basketball.

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