Who in their right mind theorized that the 31-28 Brooklyn Nets had the third-best odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals? Scratch that, what executive signed off on the Brooklyn Nets having the third-best odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals?
What has Brooklyn put on tape this yea— know what, scratch that again, some of their players do not even have tape ready for review this season.
Here is what we know about the Nets: they have an elite superstar who has been bitten by the injury bug in recent years and is not a leader, a moody co-star who is only available for half of the games and, in the case of a home playoff series going the distance, would be unavailable in the pivotal game seven, a problem child that seems more interested in playing the victim than practicing a jump shot, and a supporting cast that, well, has not been that supportive thus far (aside from Patty Mills, who is off the hook).
WHY are the Nets (+600) to Win the 2022 NBA Finals?
Brooklyn headed into the All-Star break as losers of 12 of 14, largely due to an 11-game losing streak. The pre-season championship favorites had their hand forced into trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, and Seth Curry, which will force them to make serious adjustments with a very short turnaround.
Head Coach Steve Nash is totally unproven as a leader and seemed clueless in the last postseason, playing a heavily wounded James Harden for 46.3 average minutes over the final three games of a series with the Milwaukee Bucks, and Kevin Durant a staggering 47 per night during the same stretch. Nash also showed no inclination to change his game plan to account for various deficiencies and has no credibility at the coaching level.
To add on to all of this, three-point sniper Joe Harris has only played in 14 games and could miss the rest of the year with an ankle injury, which would shrink the space on the court even further, with Simmons already providing a negative threat from outside.
Please Save Your Money (Please)
Here is what the Nets are up against; they have to re-introduce a wounded superstar that’s ball-dominant running mate just left town, get a player with no confidence in his ability to shoot the ball back into playing shape and somehow override the demons in his head, if they even let him play in the fourth quarter, find a place for an old-school center like Drummond when their last archetype (DeAndre Jordan) ended up as nothing more than a DNP (did not play) machine, and, once again, become the best team in basketball with 50% of their second-best player.
Looking around the Eastern Conference, there is a strong chance that the Nets enter the postseason as a participant in the play-in tournament; their record is seven games out of first place and is just as close to the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks as it is to the sixth-place Boston Celtics.
Based on current seeding, Brooklyn would have to defeat the Miami Heat, in the opening round before likely meeting the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks and either the Philadelphia 76ers or Chicago Bulls. Even if Kevin Durant would be the best player in the series, which he would, there are too many moving parts and not enough time to get everything in order.
If you can find a sportsbook accepting bets on teams that will NOT win the 2022 NBA Finals, from the bottom of my heart, please put everything that you have on it.