Of course, Irving has remained steadfast in refusing to get vaccinated, which flies in the face of New York City’s statewide decision to mandate proof of vaccination to participate in organized indoor activities.
Steve Nash told the media this past weekend that the Nets have accepted that Irving won’t be available for home games.
However, this saga took another dramatic turn on Tuesday when Sean Marks announced that Irving won’t play for the franchise until he can do so on a full-time basis. In other words, Irving will be away from the team for as long as he’s unvaccinated, which will presumably be the foreseeable future.
This announcement throws a wrench into the Nets’ plans to dominate the East and clinch home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, so let’s attempt to project where they’ll finish in the standings.
Projecting Brooklyn Nets’ playoff seeding without Kyrie Irving
The good news is that this is still one of the most loaded rosters in the NBA, let alone the Eastern Conference, so the No. 1 seed is still in play. It’s also worth noting that the Nets were 12-6 in the 18 games Irving missed last season, so Kevin Durant and James Harden are more than capable of handling a bigger load offensively.
At the same time, there’s more competition in the East this season. While the Nets were busy retooling their roster in the offseason, so were the likes of Milwaukee, Miami, Atlanta, New York, Boston and Charlotte. Philadelphia could still strike a blockbuster trade involving Ben Simmons before the season, too.
With the Nets’ first regular season game just a week away, here’s a look at our projections for the Eastern Conference with regard to playoff seeding.
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Brooklyn Nets
- Miami Heat
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Atlanta Hawks
- Chicago Bulls
- Boston Celtics
- New York Knicks
The top four teams are still a cut above the rest and seeds 5-8 could finish in any particular order. As far as the Nets are concerned, though, we think Milwaukee will finish atop the pack. No championship hangover for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who’s coming off one of the most dominant Finals performances ever.
The No. 2 seed is far from a consolation prize and it sets up a potential Conference Finals rematch against the Bucks. You have to think Durant and Harden will be itching to get another crack (this time a fair one) against the reigning champs.
The way we see it, the Nets will finish a respectable 56-26 during the regular season, a short two games behind the Bucks’ superior 58-24 mark.
What do you think, Nets fans? Can Brooklyn push for 60 wins without Irving?