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Which Team Will Disappoint Once Play Restarts?

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Which Team Will Disappoint Once Play Restarts?
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets. Justin Tafoya/Getty Images/AFP

Today we’ll look at the teams you might want to stay away from.

Not Much Positive News Coming from Brooklyn Nets

Of all the teams returning to action, I think the Brooklyn Nets might turn out to be the most disappointing. Let’s start with the current state of affairs. Kyrie Irving will not travel with the team in order to rehab his injured shoulder. It’s probably better off for the Nets and the NBA that he can’t play anyway. Kyrie is one of my favorite players despite his past issues with teammates. That said, he has been one of the loudest voices in opposition to the NBA season resuming. He along with several players in the league do not feel like there should be basketball going on amid all of the current social unrest.

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There is also still Covid-19 to deal with as well. The health and safety issues of playing in Orlando have been well documented. That brings us to another problem the Nets have to deal with. Both DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie have tested positive for Covid-19. Jordan has already announced that he will not join his team in Orlando for the restart of the season. Spencer Dinwiddie has yet to rule himself out. There is no telling the toll the virus will have on Dinwiddie not to mention the fact that he won’t be able to practice for an extended period while he recovers.

The final reason I’ve chosen the Nets as the team most likely to disappoint when play restarts is their motivation. No Durant, Kyrie, Jordan, and possibly Dinwiddie means they are missing half of their rotation and 4 of their top 7-8 players. Obviously Durant wasn’t going to play no matter what but my point is where is this team going? The best-case scenario for Brooklyn is playing Toronto or Milwaukee in the first round. They obviously aren’t winning against either team so I’m not exactly sure what they’re playing for.

There are already lines available for opening NBA games including Brooklyn’s first game against the Magic. Orlando is -3.5 (-115) at BetOnline.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP

Denver Nuggets Seem Hard to Trust

The biggest reason that I don’t trust the Nuggets when play resumes is their defense. I am impressed with the pictures I’ve seen of skinny Jokic. That’s great news for Nuggets fans and anyone looking to wager on them. That said, what worries me is their defense this season has not been up to par. They are currently 13th in the league in defensive rating. That isn’t terrible but it’s not great. The drop off from last year is especially noticeable because of their pace. They are 29th in the league in pace and I feel like that will come back to bite them in the playoffs, especially out west.

I do like their depth and if Jokic’s weight loss means he’ll perform at a higher level then that’s great. The thing is we don’t really know what to expect. He’s never been a good defender and the weight loss might make his post defense worse. Again this is all speculation and that’s my problem with Denver. Even though they are currently 3rd in the west, that could change come playoff time.

They’re only 1.5 games ahead of Utah and 2.5 in front of Oklahoma City and Houston. Even if they hold on to 3rd place, I could see any one of the three aforementioned teams beating them in the playoffs. Before the season, the Nuggets had high hopes and they’ve managed to put themselves in a good position so far this season with the third seed. If they enter the playoffs any lower than that or even worse, they lose early in the first round that would be very disappointing from their perspective. I’m not predicting that’s what will happen.

What I am saying is if it did, I would not be the least bit surprised. Those are the type of teams I try to stay away from.

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates with Will Barton III #5 after making the game winning basket in the final seconds against the Philadelphia 76ers. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP