NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 26: The Brooklyn Nets stands together before the opening tipoff against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 26, 2020 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Brooklyn Nets fans breathe a sigh of relief as their team has one of the easier schedules of the 2020 NBA restart.

As we all know, the Brooklyn Nets are one of the 22 teams that will participate in the NBA’s 2020 restart come late July. The Nets are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but they still have much to play for in these eight regular-season games.

They will, unfortunately, be without their two superstar players. Kevin Durant still isn’t entirely ready to return after undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon last year. Kyrie Irving is still recovering from shoulder surgery that he underwent earlier this year.

The good news for fans, however, is that the Nets actually have one of the easiest schedules of the 22 teams that will be returning to play. Let’s dive into what it looks like.

The Nets will kick things off against the Orlando Magic on July 31. They’ll be playing the Magic again on Aug. 11 in their second to last game of the regular season.

While playing the Magic is no walk in the park (they’re a formidable defensive team and actually won both matchups against the Nets this season), Brooklyn could’ve had it much worse. They should feel lucky that they have two chances to hold off Orlando in the standings.

The Nets are fully capable of winning not just one but both games against the Magic. It isn’t guaranteed, but it can happen.

Next up, Brooklyn will square off against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards also beat the Nets in both of their matchups, but the Nets are the better team. After all, as things stand, the Wizards aren’t even a playoff team and are currently, record-wise, the worst of the teams invited to Orlando.

To add to that, Washington forward Davis Bertans has elected to sit out the restart, a crippling loss to the team. Bertans is one of the team’s best shooters. Although the Latvian didn’t shoot the lights out against the Nets like he’s done to so many teams this season, his presence on the perimeter opened up space for Bradley Beal to drop 30-plus points in each win over Brooklyn.

The Nets must take advantage of his absence and really don’t have much of an excuse to drop this game.

Brooklyn’s next two games are against Eastern Conference contenders.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are two of the best teams in the league and Brooklyn really doesn’t have an answer for the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who they are hoping to avoid in a first-round matchup. Anything can happen, but it’s unrealistic to expect the Nets to beat the Bucks at full-strength.

The Celtics are a better team than the Nets. Brooklyn needed a 51-point outburst from Caris LeVert to knock off Boston just prior to the league-wide shutdown. Although the Nets will have a puncher’s chance, Boston is going to be tough to beat.

Next up are the Sacramento Kings, whom the Nets beat in November.

The Kings were one of the hotter teams in the league before the season was suspended (that’s why they’ve been invited to Orlando), but they’re still one of the worst teams partaking in the restart.

The Nets will hope that Sacramento has cooled off and must focus on playing a clean game to secure this win. More importantly, Brooklyn could be coming off back-to-back losses and they mustn’t let those affect their morale and mentality.

It would be silly of them to drop this game.

Another reason the Nets must beat the Kings is that their next game will be an uphill battle. They really don’t stand a chance against the powerhouse that is the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers will enter the bubble fully healthy, while the Nets are running with a squad led by Spencer Dinwiddie and LeVert.

As was previously mentioned, the Nets will then face the Magic again, whom they must beat, and will wrap things up another must-win game, this time against the Portland Trail Blazers.

For one, Portland has one of the most difficult schedules of any team in the restart. By the time they face Brooklyn, they’ll likely be mentally and physically exhausted. The Nets must do what they can to take advantage of this.

Second, Trevor Ariza has elected to sit out the restart, and that will prove to be a huge blow to the team, especially in terms of depth. Plus, if Portland stumbles out of the gate and falls out of the play-in tournament, they could rest stars like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Brooklyn can end the eight-game mini-schedule on a positive note. If the Nets play smart, clean, good basketball, they really shouldn’t go worse than 5-3.

They’re playing three of the very best teams in the league, yes, but other than that, they don’t have much of an excuse to drop any other games. They’re better than Orlando, Washington, Sacramento, and Portland. They just have to prove it on the court.

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