Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Time To Panic?

The Brooklyn Nets are 3-7. With a roster made up of all-star talent featuring Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez and prime backups such as Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry and Shaun Livingston the team looks completely lost. Where to begin with the Nets might be the hardest part in dissecting this mediocre squad.

Let's first begin with the Nets offense as a whole. With a starting lineup made up of a combined 35 all star selections, the Nets are currently 17th in the NBA averaging 97 points per game. The problem with last year's Nets roster, if you can remember, was that the Nets starting lineup included two inept offensive players, Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. Enter Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and for most Nets fans the two weakest offensive positions just became strengths. Moreover arguably the two best players on the Nets, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, who countlessly experienced double teams last year, were expecting solely "single coverage" given the offensive upgrade of Pierce and Garnett. Unfortunately for the Nets, the lineup has not clicked. Now, for the optimists in the room, they will claim that the Nets haven't had time to gel and players have been injured. The concept of gelling is a crucial concept that can't be overlooked and that will take time. Having said that let's remember that when the Big 3 in Boston was created, including Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics went 66-16 and clicked immediately. Obviously that was a different time, but it can't be dismissed that the Nets have gelled horrendously so far. The next counter to the Nets cold offensive start, as stated previously, was the Nets health. This argument must be shutdown immediately because when the Nets traded for Pierce and Garnett they knew what they were getting themselves into. Furthermore, the health of Deron Williams is starting to become a point of great frustration for Nets fans. While point guards such as Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul are blossoming, Deron is declining in the minds of NBA fans by the day. Since his arrival with the Nets he has been hurt, his wrists and ankles, and has more or less been the culprit for the firing of two coaches. For a player who is making more money than Lebron James it is time for him to be healthy and moreover stay in shape. Let's not forget that Deron Williams, after signing a 100 million dollar deal, came to Nets training camp out of shape for the first season in Brooklyn. It is time for Deron to step up and earn his money. With an offense that is shooting 43% from the field as a team, it is time for this roster to step up. It starts and ends with the point guard, D-Will.

On the defensive end, the Nets are just as poor. The Nets are 21st in the league in points allowed, at 102.7 per game. Given the fact that advanced analytics have shown that the Nets are far worse with KG on the floor, than off, it is clear that there is something wrong. The Nets are 20th in the NBA in opposing shooting percentage at 45.8%, again terrible numbers. With the addition of Kevin Garnett as well as Andrei Kirilenko, there are no excuses for such a porous defense. Most telling of the Nets slow and ineffective defense is that they are in the bottom 5 in the league in opposing 3-point percentage. Teams are shooting a 39% percent from 3 again the Nets. Let's not forget that Kevin Durant was praised last year for shooting 40% from 3, thus teams are shooting a bit worse than KD does on an average night from 3. What this shows is that the Nets are slow and are not rotating. For people that have watched the games, they have seen that there are consistently wide open 3s against this team.

The slow starts of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are not as alarming because they do need to gel and they do need to learn their place. Let's not forget, once Rondo got hurt last season, KG and the Truth spent the entire season as the stars again. They need to learn their spot on this team. Furthermore, KG and Pierce want to be viewed as more glorified role players. As they've stated multiple times, this is not their team, this Deron and Brook's team.

What's more alarming about the Nets makeup and their play, is that it truly appears like they have too many players that can play. Now, for most people, they can read this previous sentence and think, "what's the problem with depth". Depth is incredibly important and crucial for a long playoff run. However, the Nets might have too many players that need to get minutes, thus there is no possible way for the team to gel. If we look over the Nets roster there are 12 NBA-ready players on the roster. The roster includes, D-Will, JJ, Pierce, KG, Brook, Terry, Kirilenko, Evans, Blatche, Livingsotn, Teletovic, and Alan Anderson. While depth is essential, 12 players is too many for a rotation. A 7-9 person rotation is what is best for a deep playoff run. With the current team assembled, it has a ton of talent, but Jason Kidd legitimately has too many players to play.

Is it time to panic yet? No, absolutely not, it's 10 games through the season. Having said that all eyes now have to be on Deron Williams and Jason Kidd.

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