Well, the 2020 NBA Playoffs are upon us. With its Disney Bubble premise in full effect, the 16 teams are squaring off to determine this year’s champion. While it’s hard to think that there won’t be an asterisk next to the 2020 title, a champion will be crowned.
The NBA is a fickle beast. Star-driven and tank-friendly, teams in the dumpster one year can be the king of the mountain the next. With that, stakes are high for almost every team as they make their playoff run, with sought-after stars often heading for greener pastures if they feel their squad can’t get over the hump.
We’re looking at each of the NBA playoff contenders and diving into what’s at stake for each team, the odds of making a deep run, and key storylines to watch.
Let’s hit the Brooklyn Nets.
Expectations: They’ve Already Been Exceeded
There was talk of Brooklyn not even bothering to report to the bubble, given how much of their roster was impacted by COVID. Literally half of their roster opted out, with 7 players choosing not to travel to Orlando. Just making it to the postseason dance is an achievement, but going much further than the opening round would be pretty shocking – especially since they’re facing the defending champs.
What’s Working for Them
Anonymity? I don’t mean this as a bad thing. It’s just that all of the “big name” guys (Durant, Irving, Prince, Jordan, Dinwiddie, etc.) are at home watching on TV with the rest of us. It’s been left to Caris LeVert and a roster laden with role players who aren’t household names. As such, the Nets are a true collective, working together to maximize their potential. Nobody seems to worry about their own stats, instead, they’re embracing the underdog role foisted upon them coming into the bubble and making the most of it. They went 5-3 in the bubble, managing to beat the Bucks and Clippers – so they’ve proven they can hang with the best.
What Might Hold Them Back:
When can a strength also be a weakness? Arguably, their lack of big names with playoff experience could prove too much to overcome. Given that half of the roster is essentially brand new, they’re still learning how to play together. Sure, they’ve done a pretty good job thus far, but we’re in the postseason now.
They also don’t really have the size necessary to “hang with the big boys” – literally. It could prove tough sledding for the bodies banging around under the basket.
Storyline to Watch
How long will Cinderella stay at the ball? Before the bubble action even got underway, there weren’t high hopes for the Nets. It’s always been next year that has gotten Nets fans REALLY excited. But given the showing these guys have made thus far, I guess you never know.
While it’s almost a foregone conclusion among pundits that the Nets will be eliminated, I’m stoked to watch these guys. Earlier, I mentioned that the “household names” weren’t in the bubble. Well – by the time all is said and done, there may be some guys who made themselves into household names with their play. If they can have a good showing against the defending champs, it’d go a long way to making that happen.
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