For a second straight season, the Nets now find themselves scratching and clawing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, although the conference isn't as competitive as it was last season. The Nets, Hawks and Bulls all find themselves searching for the eighth and final playoff seed, but all of them are playing for a virtual lock to get blown out in the first round against the Boston Celtics. Many would argue, what is the point for the Nets to make the playoffs? The first round would be against the Celtics, and they don't have a shot. But if you think about it, the Nets have plenty of reasons to fight.
For one, the Nets have been in the playoffs since the 01-02 season. Making the playoffs that many seasons in a row is not a streak that you ever want to break. Not making the playoffs one year almost opens the door for the team accepting their fate as a lower seed and realizing that they aren't playoff material. Look at teams like the Hawks who have been horrible for years, and think how different their seasons could be if the players started the season with a winning attitude and expecting to win. A big part of basketball is confidence. If you look at the ongoing NCAA Tournament, the main reason upsets happen is because a team truly believes that they can beat the higher seed. No upsets ever happen with the lower seed coming into the game thinking "lets play our game and try to do what we can and maybe we can come out of it with a win." A winning attitude is something that can be lost easily and is also one of the most important things a team can have.
Secondly, the Nets have a young and coming point guard who needs to know that this team isn't just here to play games and win what they can. Devin Harris didn't come from a team competing for the NBA Championship to the Nets to rebuild when he has players like Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter around him. The point guard runs the show and if he has an upbeat attitude it can change the whole attitude of the team.
Even though the Nets won't have the odds with them when facing the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, they certaintly have something to fight for.