The Nets will enjoy the next three days off before returning to action Thursday night in Brooklyn against the Boston Celtics. It is no secret that the Nets have dealt with adversity and injuries all season and with only twenty-three games remaining on the schedule, they are running out of time to turn it around.
Due to circumstances, mainly outside of basketball (injuries, trades, city laws, etc.), the Nets have been one of the biggest disappointments in all of the NBA. They currently are the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and would be a participant in the NBA Play-In Tournament should the season end today.
The Net’s return to action will bring them six straight games against opponents in the Eastern Conference who are ahead of them in the standings. If the NYC vaccine mandate doesn’t change before then, Kyrie Irving will only be eligible to play in two out of the six games.
With uncertainties to Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, and Irving, the rest of the Nets’ schedule is not going to be easy. They will play twenty-three games in forty-six days, with thirteen games at home, four sets of back-to-backs and Irving will only be eligible for eight out of the remaining games. The Nets also have the 13th toughest remaining schedule (strength of schedule) with opponents having a .503 winning percentage, this includes two games against the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers each once.
“Where we are at right now is a much-needed break for everyone,” Patty Mills said after Thursday’s game against Washington. “For us to hit that reset button, come back hungrier than ever, and understand why we’re all here. We all came here to win a championship this year.”
The Nets know what needs to be done and have the talent to do it, which is the positives in all of this. Now, it is about getting pieces back and executing their game plan.
"I think we're in a very hungry, hungry place right now. The locker room is as strong as it's ever been this season. We feed off each other's energy. You can see it on the court."
– Patty Mills pic.twitter.com/qZZd3x3cs0
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 18, 2022
In addition to the difficult remaining schedule, the Nets roster still might not be completed. With the buyout rumors swirling, the Nets continue to be one of the contenders linked to Goran Dragic’s services. He would be a nice insurance plan and a player who could contribute to the Nets in limited minutes should the question marks be answered. While adding a player like Dragic will be beneficial in a vacuum, it will be yet another piece Steve Nash will have to be able to integrate into the rotation.
Steve Nash is the ‘lead recruiter’ in Brooklyn’s efforts to land Goran Dragić, per @TheSteinLine
“League sources say Nash registered key aspects of the Nets’ bid to Dragić on Friday”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 20, 2022
It is not going to be easy for the Nets the rest of the way, but nothing ever is, especially this season. If things fall into place how they should, the Nets have the star power to turn this season around, get out of the play-in tournament and build positive momentum going into the playoffs.
However, as this year has proven, what should happen and what does is never a guarantee.