Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) drives against Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Although it is still early, the Brooklyn Nets sit one game out of eighth with a 3-5 record. What are some things the Nets can do to make the playoffs a reality?
The Nets’ current roster is not bad. To be honest, they have performed much better than many expected so far. With that said, their roster does need improvement. Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Trevor Booker are all great pieces. As expected, Lopez is the closest thing the Nets have to a superstar, but he is not quite there.
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If there was a ranking system for players, it would be superstar, All-Star, star, role player, and so on. For the Nets, they have an All-Star in Lopez. After that, they have the role players needed for a playoff team. But they are just low on talent. For the Nets, each guy on the team has their strengths and weaknesses, but they do not have a guy that can do it all.
Basically, the Nets are missing a guy that does well in multiple aspects of the game. The Nets don’t need the best player in the world to join them, but a player such as George Hill would probably help the Nets tremendously; just being versatile on offense and a good defender. The problem is that the Nets do not have any trade bait. All this team can hope for is that some team is looking to salary dump an expiring contract at the trade deadline.
As obvious as it may seem to add talent, it will be hard for the Nets. But there are other ways for the Nets to improve without making roster moves.
Nov 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets injured point guard Jeremy Lin (7) watches from the bench during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
It is no secret that the Nets’ defense is well below average. They are allowing the sixth most points per game in the league with 108 points per game. The Nets also allow their opponents to grab 11.1 offensive rebounds per game. That leads to the Nets giving up 15.6 second chance points per game. The Nets’ poor rebounding not only hurts them due to losing possessions, but on more than half those rebounds, the Nets allow the opposing team to score. Those two things alone cost the Nets night in and night out. If they can fix those two things, they will stand a better chance.
They also need to find a way to to mask the weaker defenders. When Bojan Bogdanovic is in at guard, the Nets need to find a way to help him with his matchup. The same goes for Brook Lopez, Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, and many more players on the Nets. Until the Nets find solutions for these problems, each game is going to be a shootout.
Nov 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) in the fourth quarter against Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) and forward Trevor Booker (35) at Barclays Center. Hornets win 99-95. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
The Nets are a newly-assembled team. The two longest tenured players on the team are Bojan Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez. Those are the only two players left from the 2014-15 team. This team has gone through a lot of changes over the last two seasons. Since it is still early in the season, the team is still try to get a feel for each other on and off the court.
Recently, Trevor Booker started wearing a headband and convinced Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to wear one. It is little things like this that go a long way with team bonding. Hopefully, the more time this group spends together, the better they will become. For now though, a lot of the season will be growing pains for the Nets as they try to figure things out.