J.B. Bickerstaff’s surprising take on Nets getting more respect than Cavs despite both squads being in play-in

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The Cleveland Cavaliers were not able to avoid the play-in tournament this season, and it is quite possible that they will have to face the Brooklyn Nets in the first leg of the tournament.

Based on the immense star power on the Nets in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, there are some who think the Cavs should be worried about a potential play-in matchup against Brooklyn.

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently issued a message of confidence and made it clear that he likes his team’s chances going forward if his group is healthy.

“Not at all,” he said regarding whether he’s bothered by the way the Nets are perceived compared to the Cavs. “The perception or reality of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and the pieces around this team and the way they are coached, you can understand why people would want to do that. But I will tell you this: If we’re healthy, we’re not a team people want to face either.”

An important caveat regarding Bickerstaff’s message is that it is quite possible that the Cavs will not be at full strength when the play-in tournament rolls around.

They got rookie sensation Evan Mobley back in Friday’s loss to the Nets, and he made an immediate impact, recording 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in 34 minutes.

The Cavs are hopeful that they’ll have All-Star big man Jarrett Allen available soon, but there are obviously no guarantees.

Allen has been out for quite some time due to a fractured middle finger on his left hand. While he has been conducting workouts as of late and seems to be getting up to speed, it ultimately remains to be seen he’ll be back in time for the play-in.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the Cavs from here on out. Obviously, advancing to the playoff bracket is the goal. However, even if the Cavs cannot overcome their injuries and end up falling short in the play-in tournament, the 2021-22 season will still be seen as a massive leap forward for a young roster that is just starting to scratch the surface of its full potential.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Cavaliers Nation.