Would you rather your team face the Toronto Raptors or the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs?
It is possible the Brooklyn Nets front office is saying Toronto, at least according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
The Nets are sitting Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston for sure Tuesday against the Knicks. Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams are all game time decisions.
A lot of playoff bound teams rest guys this time of year, you say. That’s true. But maybe there’s more to this one.
UPDATE 8:33 pm: The Nets decided not to go this way. Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson all started.
If the Nets do fall to the six seed they are going to have to lose to the Knicks (playing without Carmelo Anthony) the old fashioned way.
3:46 pm: Follow along here as we travel down the road of the hypothetical with the currently fifth-seed Nets. If the Nets lose to the Knicks (a team likely without Carmelo Anthony) on Tuesday night then fall to the Cavaliers Wednesday night they will finish with 44 wins. Washington, the current six seed, has 43 wins but will be motivated to beat the Celtics Wednesday night because Charlotte, the seven seed, has 42 wins and the tiebreaker over Washington. The last thing the Wizards want is to fall to seven and get Miami in the first round.
But Washington has the tiebreaker over Brooklyn, so if they both finish with 44 wins the Wizards are the five seed, the Nets the six seed.
Assuming as expected Toronto beats the ‘Melo-less Knicks on Wednesday they are the three seed, the Bulls would be fourth (if the Raptors lose and the Bulls beat a motivated Charlotte team then Chicago is the three seed).
Got all that?
Bottom line is it is likely the Raptors are your three seed in the East, Bulls the four seed. Are the Nets looking at that, looking at the schedule and trying to line themselves up with the Raptors in the first round?
Not sure you could ever prove that, but something to watch.
And it would be a mistake for the Nets to think the Raptors — with a good defense, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan — will be an easy out.