Brooklyn Nets: Lack of Pick-and-Roll is Puzzling

Oct 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin (7) plays the ball against Boston Celtics forward Tyler Zeller (44) during a preseason game during the first half at Barclays Center. The Celtics won 100-97. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the preseason, the pick-and-roll combination of Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin was something to look forward to. So far, the Brooklyn Nets‘ offense has been void of it.

Sean Marks brought in Kenny Atkinson to institute a new offense that’s as unselfish as possible. The pass-first mentality is there, but the offense has been lacking centerpiece Brook Lopez. In three games this preseason, the 28-year-old seven-footer has averaged a meager 15 minutes per game, and that equates to fewer pick-and-roll chances with new floor general Jeremy Lin.

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“I really want to establish our motion offense, [not] come down and run a pick-and-roll every time,” said Atkinson to Brian Lewis of the NY Post.

Obviously, we’re going to need that in important times. But right now we’re trying to get the ball moving, trying to get the ball side to side, get everybody their touches. And Brook and Jeremy, they’re both going to have to learn to work within that dynamic.

When it’s crunch time we can think about drawing up special plays for them, or getting into a pick and roll with those two. But we’ve still got to progress with our offense, and that’s where we are right now. So we’re not going to rely on that, just run a 1-5 pick-and-roll every time down the court.

Wanting to forgo the PnR through the early parts of the season makes sense, since it’s harder to develop chemistry with a host of young guys who have never played together before. Even more so in an unselfish system.

With two veterans like Lopez and Lin, the pick-and-roll is a piece of cake.

The chemistry between Lin and Lopez will develop quickly, since both guys have tenured in the league and know how to operate out of the pick-and-roll set. Even though they’ve never played together, pick plays are universal. It comes down to reading the defense and putting the ball in the right place.

Lin has already shown that he can get deep penetration off screens, and he’s able to draw defenders and make the appropriate play. If Lin’s able to look great with Anthony Bennett or Justin Hamilton as his role man, Lopez will get him to look even better.

“Every game is going to have its own personality,’’ said Lin. “There are going to be some games where there’s going to be heavy pick-and-roll and there’s going to be some games where you’ve got to mix it up. But for us right now, we understand that we need variety, and we have so many different types of players, so if we stay in the pick-and-roll, at some point that becomes a little predictable.”

Predictability would be the ultimate Brooklyn Nets killer. The roster isn’t talented enough for them to go to one thing every time down the court.

“If we’re able to hit them from a lot of different angles, that’s really what I’m going for.” continued Lin.

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