Some 20 years have past since the Brooklyn Nets franchise appeared in the NBA Finals. Since then, the team has qualified for the playoffs 11 times but never advancing past the second round.
That fact becomes especially unsettling when you consider the addition of superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving three years ago, and James Harden the following season. Brooklyn has appeared in the playoffs each of the past three seasons, beginning each campaign as a popular betting pick to win the league title. But the Nets have just one playoff series win to their name, and they come off a disappointing first-round sweep of the Boston Celtics.
With Durant and Irving back at full strength, albeit with some uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of each, and with Ben Simmons ready to make his Nets debut, could the Nets — with the fourth-best New York sports betting odds — have a realistic shot at the 2022-23 NBA championship?
NY sports betting odds show wide-open field for NBA championship
In terms of recent history, the usual suspects sit atop the NBA betting field for this year’s title. The Los Angeles Clippers (+550) lead the reigning champion Golden State Warriors (+600) and defending Eastern Conference champ Boston Celtics (+600). Fourth on that list, the Brooklyn Nets at +700.
According to Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations at DraftKings Sportsbook NY: “The year itself is kind of up for grabs. Certainly no strong contender.”
While Avello noted the drama looming over Brooklyn over the past few seasons, and again with controversy surrounding Durant and Irving. The Nets have the talent to win the title, absolutely. But the East is strong this season. Still, Avello said, “look for some surprises again this year.”
Outside of the favorites, Avello pointed to teams that perhaps carry more “value,” clubs with longer odds but could still surprise and make a run. That includes the Dallas Mavericks at +2000, the Cleveland Cavaliers at +3000 as well as the Toronto Raptors (+4500) and Chicago Bulls (+6500).
“I think we’ll have a good indication early,” Avello said of which teams might emerge as potential contenders. “Usually teams that start pretty good usually follow through with that for the whole year. In the NBA, you don’t see teams that start real well and then kind of fade. If they start well, they usually hold out throughout the year. We’ll see how they start.”
Brooklyn Nets 2022-23 NBA games to watch
This season, the Nets will play 13 nationally televised games, down dramatically from 26 a season ago. With the Eastern Conference arguably stronger than ever, plenty of games are worthy of our attention. But these five jump out more than others.
Oct. 26 @ Milwaukee Bucks
A week after their home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Nets get their first big test against an Eastern Conference titan.
Two years ago, Brooklyn had the Bucks on the ropes in the conference semifinals, going up 2-0 in the seven-game series and then 3-2. But Milwaukee won two straight to eliminate the Nets on its way to the NBA championship.
This time around, Brooklyn will have the chance to show the country that it will be an Eastern Conference menace. Especially if Durant, Irving and Simmons are at full strength.
Nov. 9 vs. New York Knicks
The first Battle of the Boroughs of the 2022-23 season takes place at the Barclays Center. This crosstown rivalry has belonged to Brooklyn of late, as the Nets have won 12 of the last 15 against the Knicks, including each of the past seven.
The star-studded Nets face a young New York team that now features newly added Jalen Brunson at point guard. Brooklyn can extend its winning streak and challenge for the longest such run in this series (11, by the Nets in the 1980s). Or perhaps the Knicks can turn the tide and fuel their resurgence.
Nov. 22 @ Philadelphia 76ers
No doubt, this game is circled by many players, personnel and fans.
James Harden and Ben Simmons face their old teams. For Simmons, if healthy, it will be the first time he faces off against the 76ers after getting drafted No. 1 overall by Philly in 2016.
Will there be animosity? It’s highly possible. Will the atmosphere be unmatched in any other game across the league? No doubt.
Dec. 4 vs. Boston Celtics
Two years ago, Brooklyn eliminated the Celtics in the first round in five games. Last season, Boston returned the favor with a four-game sweep of the Nets in the opening round of the playoffs.
Boston has established itself as a top-two team in the East, a year after winning the conference and falling short of the NBA title against the Golden State Warriors. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have a venerable and formidable young nucleus that could keep Boston at or near the top of the East for several more years. Milwaukee is the earliest test for Brooklyn. Boston, a division rival, could be the biggest gauge for how the Nets will perform this season.
Dec. 21 vs. Golden State Warriors
The reigning NBA champions come to the Barclays Center just a few days before Christmas. For Kevin Durant, it’s a shot at proving his value even more by leading Brooklyn to a win over the team he won two championships with a few seasons ago.
With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and with the emergence of Jordan Poole, the Warriors, winners of four NBA titles since 2015, remain a frontrunner to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The East is strong this season, no doubt. But the West has the numbers: 16 NBA championships in the past 24 years, including six of the last nine.
Outlook for 2022-23 Brooklyn Nets
While several teams are appealing to Avello and bettors, others cause at least some hesitation. If not scare away bettors altogether.
The Lakers, for example. They won the championship in the bubble a few seasons ago with the two-headed monster of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But overall, and including that season, Los Angeles has not proven to be a “cohesive team,” as Avello put it. Not at all like the Warriors from last season or even the Milwaukee Bucks two years ago.
A team that jells together, Avello said, “it just works in all areas for them.”
Which brings us to the Brooklyn Nets betting odds.
“The Nets, they’re very capable,” Avello said, “but they’ve had some issues.”
Infighting among star players, which ultimately led to the Nets to deal James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. Injuries, like that of Joe Harris that caused the sharpshooter to miss 68 games last season. Personal decisions, like those of Kyrie Irving, who elected not to get vaccinated and could not play home games because of New York’s vaccine mandate, contributing to his appearance in just 29 games a year ago. Contract disputes, which has clouded Irving and Kevin Durant. Reports surfaced that Irving would decline his player option in pursuit of a sign-and-trade with another team (he did re-up), and Durant reportedly twice requested a trade.
“Don’t know if those issues are going to continue or not,” Avello said. “But on paper … Irving missed a bunch of games last year. No Harris, he missed most of the entire season. Simmons, never played. I don’t know. It should be a good season for this team, but who knows? Is there going to be any more fighting or arguing among them and the top brass?”