Friday, January 3, 2014

Brooklyn Nets succeeding with smaller lineup

With the Brooklyn Nets season getting off to such a rough start, they are ready to do almost anything to get this team going again.

They may have found their solution.

Coach Jason Kidd has messed around with the Brooklyn Nets starting lineup quite a bit, due to a both injuries and an attempt to ignite this team. In fact, the team has had more starting lineups this year than they did all of last year! One, however, seems to stick out. That one lineup has Shaun Livingston starting at point guard, and Deron Williams as the second guard.

With a lineup of Shaun Livingston, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, the Nets were able to succeed in pulling out the upset over the Oklahoma City Thunder. As Rod Boone of Newsday reports, Pierce pointed out that the smaller lineup has produced two wins and zero losses.
"Maybe what you saw tonight is going to be the future lineup," Pierce said following the Nets' 95-93 victory over the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Thursday. "Maybe it's going to be me playing the 'four.' We spread the court. I told them in the back, that was the second time we used that lineup and we're 2-0 with that lineup. 
While the sample size is small, its worth looking into. One of the benefits to having a smaller starting lineup is that it appears to be benefiting Williams, who has previously mentioned that he would like to move more with the offense and that he'd like to come off screens. He reiterated those statements again after the win.
"Yeah, I've been wanting to do that a little bit more," Williams said. "I get into a rhythm by coming off screens, playing like that. It's good to have Shaun out there, and being able to roam out there and being more aggressive."
If Williams gets going, that's one step closer to becoming the team that fans envisioned during the off-season. Being more aggressive was part of his New Year Resolution and if it means putting Shaun Livingston into the starting lineup so be it. When coming off screens, Deron Williams has produced a 1.16 PPP (points per possession). That's good for 13th best in the league. When spotting up, Williams has produced a 1.28 PPP, again good for 13th best in the league.

In the two games that the Nets used the above lineup, Williams has shot a combined 14/26 (53%)  from the field. Small sample size, but remember that Williams is 46% in all other games.

Even Scott Brooks mentioned that this lineup isn't one that is typically seen in the NBA. For now, the Nets will likely try out the lineup a few more times before completely coming to a verdict.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

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