Brooklyn Nets: What Lineups Could the Team use if the Playoffs Occur?

Jacque Vaughn Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Jacque Vaughn Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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If the NBA were to move forward with the non-conference playoff format, the Los Angeles Lakers will greet the Nets first during the postseason.

Although the Nets managed to defeat the Lakers during their last game, to view that game’s outcome as a reason to recycle the lineup exercised that night feels increasingly unwise, especially once remembering how the Lakers nearly pulled off a comeback against, with Anthony Davis’s shot just rimming out.

The Lakers pose a larger threat on the block than perhaps any other NBA team equipped with future Hall of Fame forwards LeBron James and Davis. While defending James and Davis alone stands as an incredibly difficult task, the Lakers hold the seven-foot JaVale McGee at their disposal to help fill out the center position as well.

Although McGee fails to draw HOF-level attention like his teammates, its the constant attention that does surround James and Davis, as well as each player’s versatility, that opens the door for McGee to potentially tear down Brooklyn’s defense from within.

Even though James serves more as a point forward, a larger defender like Chandler or DeAndre Jordan seems likely to fare better against him than Harris, Prince, or Dinwiddie given his size and ability to steamroll through multiple defenders at once.

Although Jordan or Chandler’s poor perimeter defensive skills might allow him to create some open jumpers for himself, forcing King James to settle for shots such as these rather than allowing him to power through with ease still remains the most valiant way to try and slow down the four-time MVP.

Meanwhile, as perhaps the game’s best power forward with both a stature and skillset similar to James, Davis too requires an adequately sized defender like Chandler or Jordan.

With the Lakers possessing these two players who both require either a strong forward or big man’s defensive presence, also adding a seven-footer like McGee into the mix forces the Nets to go uncharacteristically big, as with Jordan and Chandler already required to cover James or Anthony, proceeding with a more orthodox lineup would leave the team with only laughable options left to guard McGee like Harris or Prince.

This forces the Nets to ask Jarrett Allen to play alongside Jordan consistently for the first time this season as the only sensible way to try and combat Los Angeles’s dominating size.

Guards Dinwiddie and LeVert can handle Avery Bradley and Danny Green, and they should look attack aggressively on the offensive end, relying on their superior speed and athleticism as younger players to overcome the stingy defense admirably displayed each night for years now by both Bradley and Green.

Although this lineup indeed forces both Allen and Jordan to play big minutes beside each other rather than as a tag team which proposes fatigue as a glaring issue, rookie big man Nic Claxton played well when given minutes this year and 6’9″ forward Rodions Kurucs, who played big playoff minutes last year, both highlight the Nets roster as truly underrated pieces, surely able to step in and offer occasional breathers for Allen, Jordan, or Chandler when necessary.

Offering relief as well, the Lakers still play significant minutes with just James and Davis on the floor, as although McGee starts for Los Angeles, he averages just 16.8 MPG. During these sets, opportunities arise for the Nets to safely send out either Harris, Prince, or even Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to essentially take either Chandler, Jordan, or Allen’s place.

This lineup, unfortunately, features the Nets bending their team to fit Los Angeles’s plans, but when you face off against the arguably the league’s best team, few other routes really exists.