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The Brooklyn Nets are eighth in the Eastern Conference. But they still may have a chance at a magical run, thanks to the play-in tournament.
The NBA regular season is coming to an end and lower-seeded teams are gearing up for the play-in tournament, with hopes of keeping their season alive. Teams who finish in the No. 1-6 spots will automatically be in the playoffs, but teams who finish in the No. 7-10 spots will have to compete for a chance to take the final two seeds in their conference.
The Brooklyn Nets who were a favorite to win the title before the start of the 2021-22 season could be one of the teams competing in the tournament.
The play-in tournament takes place before the start of the playoffs. It was implemented in the 2019-20 season, as a result of the pandemic causing limited games.
The NBA play-in tournament breakdown
- No. 7 team will host the No. 8 team. The winner of this round will take the No. 7 spot in the playoffs. The loser will have another shot at making the playoffs.
- No. 9 team will hosts the No.10 team. The winner of this game will play the loser of No.7-vs-No. 8 team. The loser of this game will be eliminated from playoff contention.
- The winner of the final game will take the No. 8 spot in the playoffs.
The Nets are still a dangerous team despite their position in the Eastern Conference
The Nets’ path to the playoffs has not been an easy one. They have not been 100 percent since the start of the season, partly due to the part-time availability of Kyrie Irving.
Irving has missed the majority of Nets’ home games because of New York’s vaccine mandate, and when he was able to play, either Durant or James Harden was often hurt. Harden is now a Philadelphia 76er and his replacement is an injured Ben Simmons who hasn’t played in a game since the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. On paper, the Nets look good, but in reality, they are a work in progress.
Despite all of that, the Nets are still the team no one should want to face in the play-in tournament. Thanks to Mayor Eric Adams lifting the vaccine mandate, Irving is now able to play home games. With Irving back and a healthy Durant, these two are a threat to any team they face.
Durant is averaging 29.5 points a game and Irving is averaging 27.1 points a game. For the Nets, the offense is not a problem and the defense may not be either. According to NBA Insider, Shams Charnia, the Nets expect Simmons to suit up at some point during this season. Simmons is known for being a defensive threat. Last season, Simmons averaged 5.6 defensive rebounds and finished second in votes for Defensive Player of the Year. He knows how to defend on and off the ball.
The Nets also picked up an offensive threat in the Harden trade — Seth Curry. Offensively Curry has been a life-saver for the Nets when Durant or Kyrie have not played. Curry is averaging 15.3 points a game. With Curry, the pressure for Durant and Irving to score all the time is slightly minimized.
Basketball-Reference has the Nets as the most likely team to come out of the play-in tournament, as the No. 8 seed. With a healthy Durant and Irving, and possibly the return of Simmons the Nets should have no problem making that a reality.