On a bootlegged recording of a club performance by rapper Biggie Smalls, the Notorius BIG, the deceased one chants and repeats, “Where Brooklyn At,” four times—an applicable question to this season’s Brooklyn Nets, here and now.
The Nets would be in 10th or 11th place in the Eastern Conference, depending on the variables, and out of the NBA playoffs with 15 regular season games remaining. The Boston Celtics, the ninth seed, and Charlotte Hornets, the 10th seed at the moment, are in line to supersede the eighth-seeded Miami Heat, if they should falter from the last playoff position. The Indiana Pacers, who have hung back out of contention all season, has joined the fray of eight within the past two weeks, narrowly holding down the seventh spot. Interestingly enough, a win or loss by either Indiana, Miami, Boston or Charlotte ties the four for seventh and or eighth. The battle to finish in the money between these four is crazy tight.
Brooklyn, a six seed last season, losing to the Miami Heat in the second round, would be out if the season ended today. What has changed? Paul Pierce left, signing with the Washington Wizards. The disgruntled Andrei Kirilenko was traded in December to Philadelphia. Kevin Garnett, the 20-year veteran and future Hall of Famer who was on limited minutes this season, was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February for 6-foot-8 forward Thaddeus Young, who has proved to be an excellent acquisition for Brooklyn.
Young has started and come off the bench. For the first half of this month, he’s averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Unlike the Nets, he’s been consistent.
Consistently winning their remaining 15 games is needed for the Nets to even hope for the eighth seed. Except for games against New York, the Lakers and Orlando, Brooklyn’s remaining schedule consists of hungry, competitive playoff teams.
So “Where Brooklyn At?” Unless they decide to rest their best players, it’s obvious where Brooklyn won’t be: the postseason.