Brooklyn Nets: Playoff clinch gives Steve Nash chance to experiment with lineups

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets became the first team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot, taking home a victory against the Toronto Raptors that officially put the KD-Kyrie-James Harden trio in the postseason after a very sluggish start to the year.

With the playoffs in hand and several of their best players dealing with injuries, Brooklyn is taking a very cautious approach to the rest of the season. Expect to see a few starters rest days in preparation for the postseason, with Irving taking the first of his excused absences on Thursday against the Indiana Pacers.

Durant likely sitting out the contest against the Portland Trail Blazers afterward. The Nets will leave it up to their array of bench players to pull out a win, a development that could help Nash when playoff time arrives.

Coach of the Year candidate Steve Nash can show off his sharp coaching mind by throwing a bunch of different combinations out on the floor and seeing what sticks.

The Brooklyn Nets should tinker with their lineups.

The Nets have gone with lineups so small at one point that 6-4 point guard/wing hybrid Bruce Brown was down on the low post. Why not throw some smaller lineups on the floor again? It could help Nash figure out how to generate offense when one or more of their stars end up on the bench.

Brooklyn has issues with protecting the rim and securing the rebounds. Deploying bigger lineups should be something Nash looks into as well. Perhaps putting a player like Jeff Green or Nic Claxton, when he returns, out on the wing could work? Against teams like Milwaukee and Philadelphia, size is going to matter.

The Nets are tops in the East, which could be even more valuable considering they could avoid a second-round matchup against the Bucks, but Brooklyn hasn’t shown to have a burning desire to secure the No. 1 seed. If getting that isn’t the goal, the least that the Nets can do is start to mess with their pre-determined rotation.

If one potential new permutation gets unearthed out of these experiments, it will all be worth it.

The Nets know that their doomsday lineup with all three stars on the floor together is borderline unstoppable, but they won’t be on the floor for 48 minutes. If Nash finds a grouping or matchup that plays well in the coming days, the Nets might have one more way to beat the top competition in the postseason.