- The Brooklyn Nets were already without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant – DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler will also be absent for the NBA’s restart
- Spencer Dinwiddie, who has tested positive for COVID-19, could also opt out of the league’s resumption set to begin on July 30th
- The Wizards are the only team that can stop the Nets from making the playoffs in the East
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s absences meant the Brooklyn Nets were undermanned for the NBA’s restart in Orlando in July. News in the last few days has seen them get weakened further – DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler have opted out, while Spencer Dinwiddie is considering whether he will take part after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 2020 NBA Playoff odds still fancy the Nets’ chances. Only Washington can catch them, and with a significant lead over Bradley Beal and co., the Nets would need to hit a real slide in Orlando for their post-season spot to come under threat.
Brooklyn, barring a minor miracle from the Wiz, would need to drop into the eight seed and get forced into a play-in to miss out on the playoffs. Washington are six games back at the moment – they need to be within four to force a play-in and would then need to beat Brooklyn in consecutive games to make them miss the post-season.
Brooklyn Nets 2020 Playoff Odds
|Will the Brooklyn Nets make the playoffs?||Odds|
Odds taken Jun. 30th
Brooklyn has already added Tyler Johnson for the league’s resumption. Johnson had a rough year for the Suns before being waived, shooting a career worst percentage from the perimeter and managing just five points per contest.
With a record as an above-average three-point shooter, however, Johnson provides depth in the backcourt that could be without its two top scorers in Irving and Dinwiddie.
The loss of Jordan could prove to be a blessing for Brooklyn. It opens up more minutes for Jarrett Allen, but it does leave them short of depth at the five. Nene is an option on the free agent market. Kenneth Faried, who had a short stint in China earlier this season, might be an option for minutes as a small-ball five – hustle and rebounding off the bench is always handy.
Let’s ball.#BrooklynStrong | #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/Qa7Fef2mZH
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 26, 2020
The oft-mentioned names of Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford and Lance Stephenson could all be of some use to such a depleted roster. Perhaps the most intriguing option is Gerald Green, however, who is a solid three-point shooter and switchable defender.
Green was thought to be absent for the year when the Rockets traded him to the Nuggets, and it remains unclear if he’s ready to return, but he could be a very useful addition for Brooklyn, particularly after Chandler’s decision to sit out.
Washington’s Favorable Schedule
It was a surprise to see the Wizards included in the Orlando bubble. It’s a longshot that they make the postseason as the odds suggest, and at 24-40, they own the worst record of the remaining teams. At the time of the announcement, it felt like a token effort from the NBA to provide some intrigue in the East, but it could prove to be more than that with a weakened Brooklyn and Washington having a schedule that could work in their favor.
Brad is back in the gym and ready for more. ?#RepTheDistrict | @RealDealBeal23 pic.twitter.com/DngVC2FZpC
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 29, 2020
Starting against the Suns and Nets, a 2-0 start isn’t hard to envision. The Pacers and unpredictable Sixers come next, two teams competing for seeding. While the Wiz won’t be favored in either game, they are certainly winnable. The Pels and Thunder could prove to be trickier, but it’s possible that neither team has much to play for if New Orleans drop out of playoffs contention and OKC manage to pull away from the seven seed.
They close out against the Bucks and Celtics, two games that look particularly daunting. Milwaukee should have the top seed tied up by then, though, and Boston’s fate may well be settled. There’s a good chance we see some ‘load management’.
The loss of Davis Bertans hurts Washington, of course, but with an offense that has been unstoppable at times and an All-NBA star in Bradley Beal, they could get hot.
Where’s the Value?
Backing Brooklyn to make the playoffs doesn’t make much sense at that price. There’s enough of a risk that they slide – not to mention they are potentially incentivized to miss out on the post-season (they keep their pick if they fall into the lottery, otherwise it goes to the Timberwolves).
The Wizards could easily go 0-8 or 1-7, but the uncertainty of the NBA’s resumption, the presence of an elite offensive player in Beal, and a weak(ish) schedule gives them a chance of forcing a play-in.
Potentially without Dinwiddie as well as the experience of Chandler and Jordan, the Nets would be vulnerable in a play-in.
Pick: No (+700)