NEW YORK –- Larry Brown says Kentucky could make a run for the playoffs if it played in the Eastern Conference.
But Deron Williams and Jason Kidd –- whose teams reside in the East and are in the playoff race -– beg to differ.
“Making the playoffs? Playoffs!?” Williams said in a Jim Mora-like tone, according to the Bergen Record. “There’s no way. I wish they would come in here. They’re really good. They are really good. Don’t let me take anything away from them. But that’s just crazy.”
The Nets and Bucks faced off against each other on Friday night in a game that had East playoff implications. The Nets are chasing the eighth and final spot in the East while Milwaukee has been trying to hang on to sixth place.
Brown -- who has won championships at the college and pro level –- is a walking encyclopedia of basketball with decades of experience. So when he said that he thought the undefeated Wildcats could make the playoffs in the East, the SMU coach turned some heads.
“I think they'd honestly make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference if they were in the NBA," Brown said of the Wildcats, who are loaded with McDonalds All-Americans and could have two lottery picks in the NBA draft in Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Kidd and Williams, though, know what it will take to make the playoffs in the East right now.
Like Nets coach Lionel Hollins, Kidd initially declined to comment on Brown’s take. But when asked again, Kidd talked about the step up from college to the pros.
“They are young,” Kidd said of Kentucky. “They have had a lot of success and have a chance to win the national championship but there’s a lot to the NBA than ... there’s men in this league, too.
“They do have a lot of talent which they’ll be in here [the NBA soon] to find out very quickly. But could they make the playoffs? I don’t know about that.”
The Nets trailed eighth-place Boston by two-and-half games for the final spot entering Friday night’s games. Brooklyn desperately wants to make the playoffs and knows how hard it is to make up ground in the East despite the disparity in winning records between the East and West.
“It sounds good,” Williams told reporters. “Could they [Kentucky] win a game at some point in the season? Yeah. I’m saying they could probably win a game. Maybe. Once, twice.
“When you have a team full of 18-, 19-year-olds it’s just completely different. You’re going to catch a team tired one night, on a back-to-back, four games in five nights, then they could give them a run. But making the East?”
Cue Mora's infamous "playoffs?" rant.