Brooklyn Nets: 3 player matchups team should be worried about in playoffs

Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The Brooklyn Nets finally welcomed James Harden back to the hardwood in Tuesday night’s victory over San Antonio, which pulled them one step closer to securing the No. 2 overall seed in the Eastern Conference with just two games remaining on the schedule.

Well, with the postseason on the horizon, fans should start assessing which teams they’d like the Nets to avoid entirely. They’ll obviously need some luck for things to fall in their favor, but locking down the No. 2 seed gives them an excellent chance of doing so.

It goes without saying the East isn’t nearly as stacked as the West, but certain teams in the conference have been able to give the Nets fits this season.

We’re not going to delve into a complete breakdown, as those instances have been few and far between this season, but they proved fans will be rooting hard so Brooklyn doesn’t see these teams — specifically their standout players — before the semis or conference finals.

Taking all of this into account, it only seems fitting that we highlight some potential future player matchups that will leave members of the Nets’ coaching staff waking up in the middle of the night with freezing cold sweats.

Which player matchups should the Nets be worried about come playoff time?

Heat center Bam Adebayo (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

3. Bam Adebayo

The Nets are 2-1 against the Miami Heat this season, but two of those matchups were decided by a combined six points, which could foreshadow how close a potential playoff series between the two teams could be.

Why were those contests so nip and tuck? Well, the exceptional play of Bam Adebayo springs to mind, as the Heat star has logged 29.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists on 60% shooting against the Nets this year, which included a buzzer-beating game-winner back last month.

It’s not like Brooklyn can resort to mauling Adebayo in the paint to try and disorient his rhythm, either, as he’s shooting 79.9% from the charity stripe this season. To put it simply, the 23-year-old star is the complete package on offense and can strike from anywhere on the floor.

Bam Adebayo could present all sorts of problems for the Nets in the playoffs.

You might think double-teaming Adebayo could be a viable solution, but he’s also one of the best passing big men in the NBA. In other words, if you double him, he’s smart enough to bait defenders and use his brute strength to kick out to an open shooter or cutter once the double team arrives.

There aren’t many teams in the league who move better without the ball than the Heat, as the likes of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Andre Iguodala are always probing for pockets of space on the floor.

While the Heat might not be the most daunting matchup for the Nets on paper, their inability to stymie Adebayo — coupled with Miami’s tenacious defense — proves Brooklyn should be hoping to avoid the reigning Eastern Conference champs in the postseason.