With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving rehabbing and a new head coach potentially on the way, the Nets’ primary goal is to bring the NBA Championship Trophy to Brooklyn in 2021.
Winning the 2020 title in late September at Disney World without fans and with interim coach Jacques Vaughn is not his top priority.
Still, the two most likely formats to be adopted for the season restart, a 20-team or 22-team event, do not drastically alter your chances.
The 22-team event, which will bring six additional teams to Mickey Mouse’s ball, would be very beneficial to the Nets, who were seeded seventh in the game suspension of March 11.
That 22-team scenario would exclude the Nets from any type of game format to make the 16-team main event. They would solidify at number 7 in the east, which they won with a 30-34 clip.
According to sources, the additional six teams would most likely compete with the two No. 8 seeds from each conference in an eight-team single elimination tournament. The top two finishers would advance to the playoffs with the Nets waiting.
The additional six teams would be invited to be in the six games of the eighth seed on March 11. The Pelicans and Zion Williamson, the Blazers and Carmelo Anthony, Kings, Spurs, Suns and Wizards would win entry to Orlando.
The 20-team format is less friendly to the Nets’ chances for advancement.
This format would be similar to the group stages of the soccer world. Five groups of four teams, based on regular season records, would begin the playoffs.
Each team would play against the others in their group twice. The top two teams would advance. Those four additional teams invited to Disney would all be from the toughest Western Conference (Pelicans, Blazers, Kings, Spurs).
If the Nets don’t have Durant (Achilles) or Irving (shoulder), then their chances of advancing would be slim. NBA owners will vote in a format on Thursday.
It’s clear, with their super-cautious approach to Durant, the Nets aren’t excited about pulling all the stops for an uncertain playoff career.
The season reopening is expected to be July 31, and that’s 13 months since his Achilles surgery.
However, the Nets are concerned that Durant’s rehab was interrupted in March by the closure of COVID-19 just as he had started playing 5v5 contact games with teammates and player development coaches.
That gradual work was a key part of his rehabilitation at the time, but the pandemic forced him to stop criticizing for more than two months. The Nets don’t seem willing to take the slightest risk, but the final decision may rest with Durant, who otherwise wouldn’t make his debut until Dec. 25.
Nets President Sean Marks hinted that the Nets were leaning toward the Conservatives when he said in a recent interview that he was “excited about [Durant] on the Barclays floor in front of that fan base. “
The Nets are formulating a plan to reimburse their season ticket holders for lost regular-season games at Barclays. The Knicks began the rebates three weeks ago.