As of this moment, the Nets are trailing the 8th seeded Bucks by 4.5 games with 22 games left to go for the Nets. Now, I've been analyzing through ranks 8-12 of the Easten Conference standings and I believe that it's fair to say that (based on the trade deadline results) the Cleveland Cavaliers will not be making any serious run for the playoffs so I see them free-falling pretty soon. The Pistons, IMO, looks to be a team that could end up playing spoiler and trying to prevent teams from making the playoffs so be cautious of them. Still, I don't think that the Pistons have enough ammunition to compete for a playoff run due to their inexperience. Then there are the #8-9 ranked teams, the Knicks and Bucks, that are currently neck-to-neck in the standings.
Now in order for the Nets to have a chance to make the playoffs, they need to be able to keep their key players healthy for the remainder of the season. They have to get Brook Lopez back ASAP and healthy so that the team will be able to gel together. Of the 3 teams that I believe will be fighting for the 8th seed, the Nets have the easier schedule (out of themselves, Bucks and Knicks). Now, let's say that the Nets go 17-5 the rest of the way (currently 15-29), while the Knicks go 11-12 (currently 19-24) and the Bucks go 12-11 (see Knicks record). That would have the Nets finish with the 8th seed at 32-34 while the Bucks finish 1 game behind at 31-35 and the Knicks finish 30-36. I must put out that the Nets DO NOT want to end up tied with the Bucks in the standings or they will NOT make the playoffs due to the Bucks holding the tie-breaker between themselves and the Nets.
Of course, anything is possible to happen in this situation and I hope that the Nets will be able to get some good luck on their side to barely make it in the playoffs. I think we, as Nets fans, have suffered enough losing for the past 3+ seasons. It's about time we start experiencing some form of WINNING for a change, especially with this being the last season in New Jersey. I don't expect us to win a title or anything, but it would be nice to see a competitive Nets team in the 1st round against either the Heat or Bulls. Win or lose in the 1st round, at least we'll be set up for the playoff picture heading to Brooklyn if we keep our key pieces with us while adding any new reliable players in the process. GO NETS GO!!