Brooklyn Nets: Could the Nets miss the playoffs entirely?

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Could the Brooklyn Nets miss the playoffs? 

Even after the Brooklyn Nets traded James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers, they remained one of the betting favorites to win the NBA championship. However, with Kevin Durant still sidelined due to injury, there’s a growing chance that they may not even get the chance to make a championship run.

The Nets are currently 8th in the Eastern Conference standings and are just three games ahead of the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks. It may sound outlandish and may be viewed as highly unlikely, but there’s a chance that the Nets could miss the playoffs entirely.

And a big reason why is the absence of Durant, who is still recovering from an MCL sprain, is expected to make a return at some point after the All-Star break but he still hasn’t given a definitive timeline for a potential return.

"[via SI]“I’m feeling better. Much better as each week passes. It’s slow, but I’m looking forward to ramping things up,” Durant told the media on Saturday. Durant added that he will start to do more in regards to his rehab in the coming weeks, and while he does not know exactly when he will return, he says he is trending in the right direction."

Based on Durant’s response and not much else, there’s a chance that Durant could still be a month away. And due to his injury history, it really wouldn’t make any sense for the Nets to rush his return. Especially considering that it’s already going to be incredibly difficult for them to make up the ground that they’ve already lost in the standings.

The Nets have just 26 games remaining on their schedule and best-case scenario, Durant is back for maybe 20 of them?

Brooklyn is 7.5 games back of the top seed and five games back of the 5th seed. The best realistic seed that the Nets will likely get heading into the postseason is the 6th. And there are even questions about that.

What the Nets need most is to get healthy – and that goes beyond just Durant. Joe Harris is still sidelined with an injury and the recently-acquired Ben Simmons will need time to get in playing shape (if he even returns this season).

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For a team that has enough talent to win an NBA championship, it’s quite fascinating that missing the playoffs entirely could still be on the table. It’s certainly a narrative that will be gaining steam over the course of the next few weeks – especially as long as Durant remains sidelined.