2014-2015 NBA Season Analysis- Brooklyn Nets
This is a team with a lot of talent that wasn’t able to get to the next step last year. With both Brook Lopez and Deron Williams having a healthy season, the acquisition of arguably the best player outside the NBA in Bojan Bogdanovic and one of my favourite coaches (Lionel Hollins), they can be a competitive team, but I still see them away from the top spots in the Eastern Conference.
Coach: Lionel Hollins
PG: Deron Williams; Jarrett Jack; Jorge Gutiérrez
SG: Joe Johnson; Bojan Bogdanovic (Rookie); Sergey Karasev; Markel Brown (Rookie)
SF: Andrei Kirilenko; Alan Anderson
PF: Kevin Garnett; Mirza Teletovic; Cory Jefferson (Rookie)
C: Brook Lopez; Mason Plumlee; Jerome Jordan
This is a Nets team with a lot of offensive talent, with elite guys like Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez or the veteran Kevin Garnett. I believe Deron is the key to their success. Although he’s been through several injuries that didn’t allow him to get it going, I don’t really know how to explain why we haven’t been able to see that Jazz player who could perform 20-10 night in and night out. Anyway, if he can stay healthy and get close to the great player we saw in Utah, they can be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference.
I believe we’ll see plenty of high pick and rolls with Deron and a good outside shooter from the forward spot being the screener (Kevin Garnett, Teletovic or even small forwards). This is a great play for them and a double threat, because the defenders can’t leave the screener wide open, what will allow Deron to penetrate and get some easy points around the rim (lay-ups, floaters…), as well as to find the open man in the corner. Here’s where ball movement and particularly the extra pass get vital. Defenders will tend to close out real quick on the open man after Deron’s dimes because of the great roster of shooters the Brooklyn Nets have (Joe Johnson, Bogdanovic, Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Jarrett Jack and Deron himself), so being patient and making the extra pass will let them find a great shooter wide open. This outside threat also will give room to Brook Lopez to operate in the paint.
I also see as a great weapon for them the fact that they might be one of the best teams in the League in terms of having capable post-up players in their roster. Both Deron and Joe Johnson are usually taller and mainly stronger than their defenders, and both can score and find the open man if the help comes, coming back then to the great importance of ball movement and the extra pass. Also Brook Lopez is a good post-up player who can score in a variety of ways.
They can also play a two-guard line-up, with Jack as the primary ball handler and Deron playing the shooting guard spot, what can be useful for them in certain situations.
Finally, dynamic guys like Plumlee and Kirilenko can give them some extra help offensively via offensive rebounds, put-backs and buckets around the rim.
It’s now time to focus on the defensive end of the court:
First of all, I consider the signing of Lionel Hollins key to their defensive success. He’ll demand commitment and provide help to improve team defence in a team with some good individual defenders (Kirilenko, Deron and Joe Johnson due to their strength or even Garnett who’s always been a committed, athletic and active defender). But due to these guys’ age, team defence becomes essential in this team.
Staying active, ball denial, closing the passing lanes (something the Grizzlies under Hollins were really good at), constant and multiply helps (something that is usually forgotten: helping the helper, as boxing out the opposing big men to avoid offensive boards when your big men have to step up on guards’ penetrations), and as for every single team: securing the defensive glass to avoid second chance points and hopefully to be able to make some outlet passes to get some easy points in transition.
Finally, a guy like Mason Plumlee can again be of much help for the Nets, due to his activity, athleticism and shot blocking ability (he’s arguably the only real rim protector they’ve got).
Likely Starting Line-up
Williams – Johnson – Bogdanovic – Garnett – Lopez
As mentioned before, although I do believe they’ve got the talent and can be a competitive team, I don’t think they will clinch one of the top spots in the East, so my prediction for the Brooklyn Nets is they will get #6 spot.
Here we can see some of the best plays from the Nets' players in past seasons: