The Nets regular season no longer matters… unless you like 1% odds.
For all intents and purposes, the Brooklyn Nets have made their first-round playoff bed. Here’s how things stand on the last weekend of the regular season.
The Nets currently have a 91 percent chance at the fifth seed in the playoffs, setting themselves up for a 4/5 matchup with either the Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls in the first round. The Bulls have a one-game lead over the Raptors and are favored to win their last three games, which would guarantee the Bulls the third seed in the playoffs.
It’s about a 50-50 shot either way, with the Bulls holding the slight edge today. (To give you an exact number, the Bulls have a 58-42 percent edge on the Raptors for the third seed.)
That’s what makes the “playoff race” so weird for the Nets. Even if they stumble into the sixth seed, they’ve still got about the same chance of facing one of the same two teams: the Raptors or Bulls.
Here’s the Nets playoff scenarios:
The Nets will earn the fifth seed if: They win at least two of their final three games. That’s a guarantee. The Wizards have 38 losses on the season, meaning the maximum amount of wins the Wizards can end the year with is 44. The Nets currently have 43 wins, meaning if they win two games, they’ll guarantee the fifth seed.
The Nets can also earn the fifth seed if the Wizards go 0-3 or 1-2, or if the Wizards go 2-1 and the Nets 1-2.
The Nets will fall to the sixth seed if: They lose two of their last three games and the Wizards sweep the rest of their schedule, or if they lose all three and the Wizards win at least two. They can also earn the sixth seed if they lose all three of their games, the Wizards finish the season 1-2 or worse, and the Charlotte Bobcats (at 40-39) win each of their remaining three games.
The Nets will crumble to the seventh seed if: All hell breaks loose. They’d need to lose each of their remaining three games, the Bobcats would have to win each of their remaining three games, and the Wizards would have to win at least two of their remaining three games.
This last scenario is incredibly unlikely: it requires the Bobcats to upset the Bulls in their last game of the season, and the Nets to lose to two teams out of the playoff race (the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers), as well as lose to the Knicks at home. All the Nets have to do is win one of their next three games — just one — and they’ll erase this possibility.
Sports Club Stats lists the possibility of this scenario at under 1% — 0.6%, to be exact.
So, it’s probably going to happen.