The 2021 NBA Playoffs will tip off in a few days with the new play-in tournament (for the 7-10 seeds in each conference) on May 18. The Brooklyn Nets will not have to worry about the play-in tournament as they should end up with at least a number two seed in the East. Multiple sportsbooks have the Nets listed as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference championship and make the NBA Finals (Online NBA Betting Lines, Live Odds, Spreads, Totals at Fanduel Sportsbook).
However, the Nets three superstars of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden have only played seven full games together this season. Will this lack of team chemistry come back to bite the Nets in the playoffs? Here are three teams in the East that can challenge the Nets.
Remember what happened last season when no one gave the Heat a chance in the bubble? Miami shocked the NBA world by winning the Eastern Conference title and nearly upset the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Folks should not sleep on this Heat team.
Jimmy Butler goes into full ‘beast-mode’ in the playoffs. In fact, by diving into the playoff numbers from last year we see that ‘Jimmy Buckets’ ranked first in games played, shooting percentage, and assists per game. Butler is having another solid season this year by averaging 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists per game. If Butler gets on a hot streak, the Nets better watch out!
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had a lackluster performance in the playoffs last year and is ready to get that awful taste out of his mouth. Expect the ‘Greek Freak’ to start taking over games once playoff time rolls around. Giannis is having another terrific season by averaging over 28 points and 11 rebounds per game.
The Bucks currently have the third best record in the East and only trail the Nets by one game for the number two seed. Khris Middleton has really stepped up his game this season and has helped take some of the scoring load off of Giannis. If the Bucks end up facing the Nets in the playoffs, it will be a dogfight of a series.
The Sixers are currently sitting as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a fabulous record of 44-21. Joel Embiid is an absolute machine down low at the center position and is a nightmare for anyone to try to guard. The Cameroon native is currently in second place for the NBA MVP Award with a per game average of 29 points and nearly 11 boards this season.
The 7 foot, 280 pounder looks to be completely healthy after suffering a nagging knee injury earlier this season. Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons have both been a huge help to Embiid this season and the three of these players make a formidable trio. The Sixers have been the best team in the East all season long and would be a tough matchup for the Nets in the playoffs.