There’s really no easy way to explain what the Brooklyn Nets have gone through in the past year or so. From signing both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in free agency, to championship and playoff aspirations, and now here. That being on the cusp of entering the NBA bubble in Orlando without, well, almost an entire starting lineup. The NBA season is close to restarting at the end of July and the Nets are expected to field a team. Yes, this is a legitimate question we’ll have to go over in this piece. Can the Nets even field a competitive team? Let’s take a look at the roster and the losses so far.
Nets Players who have opted out
Nets Players out due to injury
Kevin Durant (Achilles)
Kyrie Irving (Shoulder)
Nets remaining depth chart
Point Guard: Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza
Shooting Guard: Caris LeVert, Garrett Temple
Small Forward: Joe Harris, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Power Forward: TLC, Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, Justin Anderson
Center: Jarrett Allen
UPDATE, Jul 9: The Nets have signed guard Jamal Crawford and forward Michael Beasley to fill out the above depth chart.
I hate to kick a team when they’re down, but yikes. This is a rough squad. You’ve got to feel for Caris LeVert after all he’s been through with injuries and his run before the season stopped. The plus side is LeVert’s usage rate shouldn’t drop below 35-40% in the eight games in the bubble.
The Nets’ depth at center is concerning. Allen is solid but behind him you’ve got a bunch of tweener 3⁄4 types in Kurucs, Musa, Anderson and TLC. I mean, Jesus, look at the PG position! You go from Kyrie to TJ and — checks basketball reference — Chris Chiozza? That would be former Florida great Chris Chiozza. Brooklyn will really need guys like Harris, Temple and Johnson to step up.
Can the Nets win a game?
This might be the most polarizing storyline for a team not named the Wizards. Can the Nets pick up a W in the bubble? Fortunately, one of those two teams needs to win on Sunday, August 2, when Brooklyn faces Washington. After that, it’s hard to view the Nets as a threat to any team really. Here’s their full schedule.
vs. Los Angeles Clippers
If you’re the Magic, you’ve got to love facing the Nets early on in the bubble and later. Orlando shouldn’t have a problem jumping Brooklyn for the No. 7 seed. I mean, it’s a shame there aren’t more teams competing in the East. The Wizards are 5.5 games back of the Magic and 6.0 behind the Nets. Washington would need to somehow win six games and hope the Nets lose out.
The big thing with all the Nets injuries is the Bucks could get a free pass in the first round. So not only can the Bucks sleepwalk through their eight games without worrying too much about losing the No. 1 seed. But they can tune up with four games against the Nets before entering a tougher series in the second round.
Nets vs. Magic opening lines
Magic (-5) vs. Nets
Moneyline: ORL (-205)
So for some reason DraftKings Sportsbook is still offering this line. I’m honestly surprised it hasn’t been moved up more. For one, the Magic could have Jonathan Isaac back at 100% and he was huge early on in the season. I mean, just look at the depth chart! Allen is going to have to play 40+ minutes at center against Nikola Vucevic, Isaac and Aaron Gordon down low. Tyler Johnson is chasing around Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin. The front court mismatches we could see may make this game ugly. Like, how high does this spread get until you’re like “Nope, not feeling it...” Like -7.5? -8.5? Double digits?
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA/CO only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.