The Brooklyn Nets were the worst team in the NBA last season and the Boston Celtics reaped the benefits.
Thanks to a 2013 trade with the Nets, the Celtics had the right to swap 2017 first-round picks with Brooklyn and wound up with the No. 1 pick in the draft after the lottery.
The Celtics also own the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder as part of the trade, but Brooklyn won’t be losing out on a top-three pick if point guard Jeremy Lin’s prediction for the team’s 2017-18 season becomes reality.
“We’re making the playoffs,” Lin said during a recent Instagram live video in Taiwan. “I don’t care what anybody else tells me.”
The Eastern Conference should be as weak as it’s been in a long time after many stars went to Western Conference teams via trades or the free-agent market over the offseason. But it shouldn’t be weak enough for the Nets to compete for a playoff spot, let alone earn one.
The Nets won just 20 games during the 2016-17 campaign. Sure, they acquired 2015 No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, but they also gave up their best player from last season in veteran center Brook Lopez in the L.A. deal.
Brooklyn didn’t make any other moves to make it substantially better. The Nets might win five or so more games, but getting to .500, or slightly under — which probably is what it’ll take to get the No. 8 seed — isn’t realistic at this point.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images