Community Shootaround: Nets’ Conference Rivals

Earlier this week, we noted that the Nets are now a strong favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals.

The addition of James Harden gives Brooklyn an imposing superstar trio. But there are still a number of teams in the East who are built for a deep playoff run.

The Celtics, led by the trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker, certainly have high expectations. They were one step away from the Finals last season with Walker playing on a bad knee.

The Sixers still boast the combination of Joel Embiid – arguably the most dominant big man in the game when he’s focused and healthy – and Ben Simmons. With Doc Rivers as coach and Daryl Morey heading the front office, there’s a Finals or bust mentality in Philadelphia. Morey made a hard push to acquire Harden and he’ll certainly be looking to do something splashy before the trade deadline.

Milwaukee is eager to make up for its early postseason exit and has the best player in the conference, if not the league, in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time reigning MVP still has to improve his perimeter and 3-point shooting but the addition of Jrue Holiday, albeit at a heavy price, has upgraded the Bucks’ backcourt.

Don’t count out the reigning conference champ. While the Heat have gotten off to a slow start, it can easily be attributed to injuries and COVID-19 issues. They have pretty much the same cast of characters that out-toughed and grinded their way to postseason success in Orlando.

It’s not out of the question that teams like the Pacers, Raptors or even the young Hawks could catch fire and do some postseason damage.

That leads us to our topic of the day: Which Eastern Conference team poses the biggest threat to the Nets?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

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40 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Nets’ Conference Rivals

    • Sillivan

      East current 1 seed is comparable to west current 7th and 8th seed
      3 teams are at the same level
      76ers, Mavs and Nuggets

      East 2-4 seeds are great though

    • PhillyPhan69

      I agree. I could see any of them (outside shot to the Heat as well if they can get healthy) getting hot and running to the finals…I could also see one of them falling in the first round. The East top 5 teams are closely matched.

      • Sillivan

        It’s not close
        If Celtics use huge TPE and Nets trade Dinwiddie

        Conference Finals Nets vs Celtics

        • KnickerbockerAl

          You do like my takes don’t you.
          I see everything Sillyman. I am an infoman

    • buttholesurfer69

      I worry about Philly’s offense in the playoffs

      C’s need depth and Kemba to be close to 100% to have a real chance

      Bucks have the same prob as Philly, who’s getting you a go ahead bucket in a tight playoff game? Maybe Middleton but really I think they need Giannis to take that step

      Sad to say but I think it’s BK’s to lose. If they can play an iota of defense and engage in minimal drama I think they’ll take the east pretty easily

  1. stubby66

    Really think the Bucks should take a flier on Isiah Thomas and put him in the rotation

    • The Howler

      So far Bucks are 3-5 against last year’s playoff teams and 3-0 against the Pistons! They lack frontcourt depth and do not need another PG especially a defensive liability like Thomas.

      Giannis should worry less about 3PT shooting until he can make a GD free throw!

      • El Don

        Finally someone gets it, why on earth would Giannis worry about shooting 3, which he is ok at… when the man is a historically horrible FT shooter!
        Fix the free throws first, which they are sooo much more important that throwing 3 pointers, right?

        • buttholesurfer69

          I think Giannis has the same issue Shaq had – his hands are too damn big to ever be a consistently great FT shooter

          Imagine trying to shoot a tennis ball into a tennis ball sized basket. I think there’s an upper limit on how good u can get

  2. Curtisrowe

    As this is posted the “strong favorite” just got beaten down by the Cavaliers for the second straight game. I mean, as long as they don’t have to face Cedi Osman and Larry Nance Jr. in the playoffs they should be ok. Those guys are super scary.

    • mattwild1

      they are still putting their roster together, and currently only have 1 center, but go off.

        • El Don

          Neither will HOU ever ever ever go to the playoffs with Walladipo, so what is your point?
          Apart from hating on a guy that is way too good to play in HOU!

      • Curtisrowe

        Perhaps the fact that they lost to Cleveland twice in a row, are still putting their roster together, and only have one center means they aren’t “strong favorites”?

        Don’t get me wrong, the Nets are good, but this isn’t 2k.

    • x%sure

      The Cavs were contesting among themselves for rebounds… But wow were they contesting. BRK lacked Durant. Irving & Sexton were both ssssss hot. I think the Cavs ceded points and possessions to Irving to discourage them a bit, not sure.

    • KnickerbockerAl

      They need to reconstruct their team D. They will. Just like Celtics have TE as big chip. Nets have a Dinwiddie trade as big chip. Still early. But funny they can’t beat the Cavs.

  3. Marty McRae

    For the first time in decades, the East is actually strong and interesting. Welcome to West Conference basketball you guys!

    • Walladipo and Wood

      Not really, the east is still top heavy despite strong starts by the Knicks, Bulls, and Cavs. It’s still Milwaukee’s conference to lose.

    • Sillivan

      East is forever Weak East
      Interconference games this season
      West beat East 59% of games
      East bear West 41% of games

      Differ 18%

      • Sillivan

        Relatively Healthy Pelicans are 14th seed at the moment
        Pelicans would be the worst team in the west if Towns is healthy

  4. Simmons>Russ

    Nets Bucks Celtics Sixers are the top dawgs followed by the Heat Raptors and Pacers.

    Now obviously the Nets have the best big three and need to piece together the rotation and depth and how it’ll all work out before we talk about them being the best and winning a chip.
    However I expect that some of the other teams will feel pressed into making a move to keep up.

    Celtics have the huge TPE and are lead by 3 all stars and an all defensive Marcus Smart. They also have a good coach in Brad Stevens but are very hesitant in making trades. I think they need to do something Kemba is getting old and sore, Tatum and Brown have taken big steps in carrying the load but get them something.

    Heat are favourites for Victor Oladipo, he would be a great pick up for them. Butler Oladipo Bam and Herro that’s nice and puts them back in the top tier if they win some more games.

    Sixers have multiple trade pieces and Morey loves to make moves. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something big.

    Bucks they went all out on Jrue Holiday and don’t really have much left in the tanks for moves so it’ll be interesting if they can do much.

    Raptors have a great head coach but their best player is in a huge form slump. Not sure what they do, FVV is a bucket but he’s an undersized guard, Lowry is on an expand deal but can’t see them moving him.

    Lastly a wild card, Hawks and Wizards both have a couple stars players and trade chips. I could see them making moves particularly Atlanta

  5. phenomenalajs

    I’m a huge Nets fan, but right now I think the biggest threats to the Nets are themselves. I sure hope they’re built for the playoffs, but the depth they just traded away is what hurt them the last two games. All 3 won’t play in every game, but they need to start dominating teams, especially when they do.
    Also, I understand they’re taking their time filling the open roster spots, but defense should be a priority with those they pick up. I know about Norvel Pelle. They should consider bringing back Shumpert for his D. They’ll probably wait to see who gets bought out before filling the last spot, so I hope Claxton is ready to return soon.

  6. Cap & Crunch

    Top 4-
    Nets Bos Phi Mil

    Tough Outs-
    Mia IND

    Toronto fades and ATl shows spurts of potential at times but its 4 outta these 6 in the end for a pretty darn exciting Eastern Semis this year

    Phi tough match for Nets
    Nets tough match for Bos

    Per usual matchups will be key

    4 biggest players will be-
    KD,Giannis,Embiid and Tatum to watch. Whoever elevates the most in those 4 might be the victor from the East

    • Northern Expansion 416

      Toronto is a superstar away… But way to find the obsession to bring them up…

      • PhillyPhan69

        @Northern Expansion 416 what is up with the Raptors this year? I think Nurse is a great coach…did losing Gasol and Ibaka and replacing them with Baynes hurt the chemistry and D that much? Is it playing in the south rather than the North? I expected a step back this year, but their struggles seem greater than I expected. Is it just a small sample size/slow start or greater cause for concern?

        • Northern Expansion 416

          They definitely miss Ibaka. With Surge now choosing to hold Kawhi’s ☔, it’s apperarant that the raptors lack a wing allstar caliber player as well as a better option at center. Baynes is not it, he’s become another thought to be fit that lost his talent from the monstars. DeMare Carroll, Landry Fields Kapono,Patrick Patterson & now Baynes… All played significantly worse when they got to the raptors than their previous year with respective different ball clubs…

      • Cap & Crunch

        Obsession? Strange language…

        I like Tor, Lowry one of my all time Favs, but until “said superstar” I was following the guidelines to the article- No threat

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Nets are not top team so there is no threat. They need to win a few. How’s that, who crowned them. Did I miss the whole season. You gotta love writers, no. Give this 40 games. They are 1-2 and their D looks very beatable. So how exactly are they the top. The East is tough this yr. You see the Heat right. Things will work it’s way out. Celtics, Sixers, Bucks, Nets, Heat are top teams. Pacers and Hawks will be tough out. Raptors are not top 6 this yr. All top 5 teams except Bucks can make a move by TD. So we still got a way to go. Some teams will have to decide go for playoffs. Or go for draft. Like Cavs, Magic, Bulls, Raptors, even Wizards. I’m good with Knicks at 30 wins. And bet on draft (David Duke).

  8. Northern Expansion 416

    I don’t really take the celtics seriously. They have had a big 3 since 2017 and have yet to make the finals. They should deal Walker to be honest… They need a pass first point guard and some one who doesn’t flame out when they get deep in the playoffs…

    • PhillyPhan69

      I wish I could agree. Celts have good chemistry a top 5 IMO coach, and they just got Kemba back and had the best record in the East without kemba 3 days ago. Then they lost Tatum. But when healthy they can beat any team in the east (and west IMO). They do seem to go iso a little more than they should. But I am always nervous playing them…only great teams make me nervous lol

      • Northern Expansion 416

        Celtics have the core to win, why they haven’t even made th finals yet from 2017 up to now is beyond me… I trust Tatum,trust Jalen, even trust Smart but in pivotal playoff games I just don’t trust Kemba…

        • PhillyPhan69

          Kemba is a tough call. Good scorer, another iso scorer that can penetrate the lane and get to the line…but undersized a defensive target for every team they play. I mean you are getting covered by Tatum/Brown/Smart you are going to look to attack Kemba at every opportunity. Part of me thinks they should trade him but not sure what options would be,..but they seem to be ready to ride with him. The Celtics scare me more than Nets/bucks

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Celtics are just growing up. They hurt their team by letting Horford go. Tatum is 22, Jalen just turned 24, Smart is 26. Big three when. They are just becoming one. More like puppy three. Kemba is here one yr. And hurt in bubble. They still took Heat to 7 games. A healthy team you add Thompson, Teague. A year older. They are a true contender. Don’t forget they have 27 mill TE. They add a rim protector it’s over. But that 27 mill can add a nice player. Raptors last yr didn’t scare nobody. But they were a solid team that found ways to win. As a team, depth. All in same page. They lost two solid smart bigs. And did not replace them. That’s got to hurt. Just when Celts lost Horford. Not a hater lol. The Bucks are probably best team. Celtics, Sixers, Heat, Nets all can beat them in playoffs. Especially if they make a move by TD. I see them as top teams in East

    • PhillyPhan69

      They won’t use the full TPE because they want to stay under the luxury tax…I won’t be surprised to see them wait till the off-season and use it then rather than this year.

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