Brooklyn Nets hopes in NBA restart are over before they started

The Brooklyn Nets didn’t have much chance of advancing deep into the playoffs against a tough top of the East, but in recent days their faint hopes have dwindled to nil.

It seems as though the best days of the 2019-20 season are behind the Brooklyn Nets. In a cruel twist, they may have had their peak when they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on March 10th in their last game before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was a thrilling moment, at the time. The Nets pulled off a huge road upset behind 23 points from Spencer Dinwiddie, Kevin Durant was traveling with the team on their West Coast trip, and their next game against the Golden State Warriors was expected to be the first NBA game to be played without fans after the city of San Francisco banned large gatherings.

That game was scheduled for March 12th. As we know now, the coronavirus was on its insidious spread throughout the United States and had already infected NBA players, and that March 12th game never happened. On March 11th, because of Rudy Gobert’s positive test result in Oklahoma City for COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus, the league suspended its season indefinitely.

As things stand now, the NBA is poised to return to action on July 30th in a quasi-bubble at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports, but the Brooklyn Nets squad that we last saw likely won’t resemble the team that takes the floor in Orlando later this month.

While Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been a certainty to miss the season’s restart for some time now, recent developments have stifled even the faintest of optimism fans might have had for their chances.

Both Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan have tested positive for COVID-19, and Dinwiddie is symptomatic. Jordan has already opted out of the NBA’s restart, and Dinwiddie is questionable as things stand right now.

While we’re hoping for speedy recoveries and renewed health from Dinwiddie and Jordan, it may be a crucial moment of opportunity for Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen.

The Nets have only played a total of 228 minutes with all of Irving, Dinwiddie and Jordan off the floor, and they’ve been outscored by 3.1 points per 100 possessions in those minutes. It’s worth noting that these minutes are likely garbage time in a high frequency as Theo Pinson is the player with the most minutes in this scenario at 137, and Pinson only played 365 minutes all season.

Without Dinwiddie specifically, the Nets have been outscored by 3.9 points per 100 in the 1117 minutes he’s missed, and they’ve been outscored by 4.4 points per 100 when he’s off and LeVert is on.

Much like the lower-tiered teams with next to no shot at a playoff berth in the restarted NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets’ experience may be more similar to a group of exhibition games than anything else.

They weren’t championship contenders even at full strength (minus Irving and Durant), but in their current status, they’re virtually drawing dead against the array of tough competition they could expect to face in the first round of the playoffs and the Eastern Conference’s top tier.

On/off stats courtesy of NBA Wowy