Monday, February 11, 2013

The Nets Need Paul Millsap

Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets has made his message clear to the NBA world. He does not only want to Take Over New York with a better season than the New York Knicks, he wants to do it by winning a championship within three years. The Nets may be talented but they are no where near achieving that goal, hosting an 11 and 19 record against teams with winning records. A coaching change looked good for a while but there was never a change of style with the team. Deron WilliamsJoe Johnson only had a couple of great games all season. Brook Lopez may be an All-Star with his improved his defense but he can be more efficient. In addition, he only plays about 30 minutes per game so it would be wise if the Nets made an personnel move to help their stagnant offense while he is on the bench. The Nets like to conduct isolation plays and that does not work against the winning teams. They need to find a way to get easy points and Paul Millsap should be highly favored. Why?

Familiarity: Paul Millsap and Deron Williams have played together for several years and has had success in all of them. The system in Utah was great because their offense resolved around pick n rolls and a bunch of screens to get player in the paint open. The Nets are trying to emulate that but they do not have the same type of players, specifically at the power forward position. Paul Millsap sets tough screens, something Kris Humphries and Mirza Teletovic do not. Reggie Evans can, but his offense is atrocious  Teams are literally playing four on five with him on the court most of the time. The chemistry between Williams and Millsap can be reestablished easily. In their last season together, Utah won seventy percent of their match-ups with a similar lineup compared to the Nets. Joe Johnson is significantly better than C.J Miles offensively so the Nets offense would provide more production just because Millsap's abilities.

Offense: Millsap averages 14.9 points per game. Humphries averages 5.9, Evans averages 3.6 and Teletovic averages 3.3. Evans rebounds better but only averages two more and Millsap will probably score off of an offensive rebound more often then every power forward on the Nets. In fact, Humphries has attempted 31 field goals off of offensive rebounds and Evans 38 compared to Millsaps' 46. Both Humphries and Evans convert at a much lower rate than Millsap on those boards. In general, Millsap's player efficiency rating (PER) is at 20.38 which is better than both Joe Johnson's and Deron Williams'.

Millsap also gives the Nets flexibility. The Nets have tried to go small sometimes and have been successful doing so, with a win% of 57 with Gerald Wallace as their power forward according to 82games. With Millsap in the lineup, the Nets have the option to do both. He can play the small and power forward positions, possibly even center, depending on match-ups  The Nets will play better against teams like the Miami Heat who also puts their power forwards at the center position. Millsap can dribble, shoot and pass. His athleticism can really help the Nets fast-break offense which is last in the league at 8.7 points.

Defense: One of the Nets biggest problems on defense are defending the pick-and-roll. They rank 28th in the league in defending the pick-and-roll roll man.They have gotten slightly better but it needs to improve. Paul Millsap is a good defender, much more so than the power forwards the Nets have now. He is more disciplined than both Humphries and Teletovic. When Millsap is guarding the pick-n-roll, opponents shoot 35.3% from the field. That is pretty good considering that the players he defends are usually within a couple of feet from the basket. Compare that to the Nets who as a team allow the roll man to score on 54.7% of those plays. Reggie Evans is a decent defender but is not quick and is a liability when teams play small. Paul Millsap will undoubtedly be an upgrade defensively.

Overall, Paul Millsap is a player the Nets do not have but desperately need. The Nets need help getting easy offense and with the way Millsap runs the floor, set screens and cuts, their offense will improve. The only problem is who the Nets will be giving up or how this trade can be done. Utah has a plethora of big men and they will most likely not want to take Kris Humphries who has a deep contract. The Nets will probably have to get a third team involved (which might be the Bobcats) and give away MarShon Brooks who has been used ineffectively. He can be the future of this Brooklyn squad but the Nets are focused on the now. With Millsap, they are not automatically  a championship team but they would be much more efficient. He would stop the frequent double teams on Williams and Johnson which provides more spacing. It all comes down to Deron Williams though. He is the team's best player and he controls the pace. Lopez may be the All-Star but if Williams was playing like he did in Utah, he would be starting in the All-Star game. So why not reunite these two and get this offense to produce in the areas which they struggle?

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