For the Brooklyn Nets, it’s not about 2020. Winning an NBA title while no one but Mickey Mouse watches was not what the Nets had in mind. For Brooklyn, it’s always been about 2021.
The team signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving last offseason knowing full well that Durant would never play a single game no matter how far the Nets advanced. Irving got off to a solid start in 2019-20 – 27.4 ppg, 6.4 apg, and 5.2 rpg – but a shoulder injury that required surgery ended it prematurely.
With both Durant and Irving out for the season, it looked as though the Nets would make the playoffs for the second straight season but, once again, bow out early. Then came the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 crisis suspended the 2019-20 season on March 11. By that time, Durant had been seen playing in 3-on-3 situations and reportedly was even involved in some 5-on-5 action. As reports of a possible Durant return began to surface, bettors flocked to their sportsbook to place a futures bet on Brooklyn to win the NBA title.
The speculation continued with a possible Irving return in September, should the season go that long. Irving’s rehab would take approximately six months from his surgery which would put him at September 3. Remember though, it has never been about 2020; it’s all about 2021.
Now, the latest from the league is that there will be some sort of 20- or 22-team event to finish the season. The 22-team version is the one that favors the Nets. Brooklyn would receive the No. 7 and the six extra teams selected by the NBA would play for the two No. 8 seeds.
The 20-team event would be more like World Cup soccer where teams would be organized into pools. Teams would play each team in their pool a certain number of times – likely two – and then the top two teams in each pool would advance to the playoffs. In that scenario, the Nets would likely not advance.
What is more likely to happen in Brooklyn is this. The Nets will be invited to compete in whatever the NBA comes up with. Durant and Irving will not play and Brooklyn will not win an NBA championship. However, in the offseason, the Nets will work out a trade with the Washington Wizards and acquire All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
In 2020-21, which it was always about for Brooklyn, the Nets three-headed monster of Durant, Irving, and Beal will contend for an NBA title.