Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Deron Williams' Return Has Opened Up the Three-Point Shot for the Nets

Brooklyn Nets' point guard with coach Jason Kidd
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images
The Brooklyn Nets were performing sub-par in nearly every category; largely due to the lack of healthy players on the team. With Deron Williams returning to action, the team has been playing loads better than their current record indicates.

Williams is one of the few "young" players on this squad and given his position as point guard, he's able to adjust to pace of the game at his will. Previously, the Brooklyn Nets were bottom five in pace throughout the NBA. With Deron back in the lineup, they have jumped up to 23rd. In the last three games, the Nets are averaging an astounding 101.8 possessions per game compared to just their season average of 96.8 a game. If the Nets played at the rate they've been playing these last few games all season, they would rank second in the league in possessions per game.

Given the age of the Nets squad, it would seem counter-productive to initiate a high-paced offense. However, Alex Raskin of the Wall Street Journal reports that this faster pace is actually helping the Brooklyn Nets' shooters.
"I think we're definitely getting better looks, but we're playing at a faster pace as well," said Joe Johnson, who hit a career-high 10 of the Nets' franchise-record 21 three-pointers in Monday's win over the Philadelphia 76ers. "So that opens up the three-point line. Deron's back, so with him pushing the basketball, getting in the paint, kicking it out for easy wide open shots, [it] makes it a lot easier for us as shooters to make shots."
Before these past three games, the Nets were shooting a mere 6.7 three pointers per game and converting on 33.8% of them. In the past three games, the Nets are unloading 13.7 three-pointers a game on a spectacular 52.6% conversion rate. A small sample size, but it gives an indication on where the Nets should look to continue.

While the three-point shot will present itself throughout the game, coach Jason Kidd will continue to play "inside-out" basketball, especially when Brook Lopez returns from his short stint on the sideline.

After suffering from a poor start to the season which brought out cries for Kidd's firing and a lack of hope for this season, the team is starting to turn it around. With a weak Eastern Conference this season thus far, the Nets could potentially land the number three seed.

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