The Brooklyn Nets entered the 2021/22 NBA season considered championship favorites after they were unable to get past the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs.
The months went by and the team couldn't find its rhythm with Kyrie Irving's absence due to his refusal to take the covid-19 vaccine. James Harden didn't play like he used to, and Kevin Durant dealt with injuries that hurt the team's chances to rank higher in the standings right now.
We're one week away from the playoffs and it's not certain that the Nets will participate. Right now, they rank 7th in the East, which means they will host their play-in tournament game.
They'll probably face the Cleveland Cavaliers in that game, trying to win that match to secure the 7th seed in the conference. After that, the Nets will probably face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the postseason, which would be a rematch from last season's series.
Many people still see the Nets as a big problem in the playoffs, and some fans think that teams might be tanking to avoid seeing the Nets early in the postseason. Kevin Durant doesn't think that, and actually believes that nobody is worrying about the Nets right now given everything that's happened to them during all these months.
"I don't believe teams are doing that. I think a lot of teams are trying to make sure their guys are healthy going into the playoffs. I don't really think they are worried about us, to be honest, you know. So we just focus on what we do, and no matter who we play, just play our game."
The Nets are finishing this season on a strong note after handling the Cavaliers and stealing the 7th seed from them. They will close the season against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow, one of the worst teams in the conference. It should be an easy win for the Nets to confirm their position heading into the play-in.
Once the postseason starts, the competition is different. KD is well aware of that, but won't reveal much about the Nets' mindset. We're pretty sure nobody would love to watch Durant and Kyrie Irving in the postseason, but we need to wait and see what version of the Nets we see now.