Oct 29, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) dribbles the ball in front of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Article continues below ...
The Brooklyn Nets haven’t gotten off to the hottest start possible, but there are a lot of things to like about this team, specifically their offense. Still, the area they have to focus on is their defense.
The Brooklyn Nets have managed to score over 100 points in three of their four games to start the season and are averaging 104 points per game. When Brook Lopez is not on the floor, it will take a toll on their offensive production, but the Nets can still manage to keep their momentum without him on the court.
Want your voice heard? Join the Nothin' But Nets team!
Their focus at this point is going to have to be their defense. They are the thirteenth highest scoring team in the league despite their high scoring performances, but still find themselves at 1-3. They are fourth in the league in points allowed, giving up 111 points per game. There aren’t many teams that can get away with giving up that much and still manage to win, so it will have to be the number one priority moving forward for this team.
Because of their atrocious defensive play, Las Vegas has picked them to be the worst team in the NBA this season and are projected to win 20.5 points this season. It is hard to believe that they will finish that low in the standings this season with how competitive they are up to this point.
A big issue with this defense is that they allow so many shots during the game. If a team is allowing 91 field goal attempts per game against a professional basketball team, then they are bound to have a ton of success.
The main way to improve on that would be to do a better job a controlling the flow of the game. Offense is not hard to find with this team, so they need to do a better job of slowing down the game and controlling the tempo.
Apr 19, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) and center Brook Lopez (11) react after a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Nets 99-92. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Who needs to be involved more?
The two players that need to step up more during games are Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovic. Both of these players are key components to Brooklyn’s success, but have struggled on the defensive side of the ball.
“We built him up in the preseason, didn’t play him a lot. I think he’s starting to hit his stride a little bit.” -Atkinson on Bogdanovic
Already this season, Bogdanovic has two games with over 20 points and has even helped rebound the ball with 4.7 boards per game, but without stepping up his defensive game, it doesn’t mean as much. “We built him up in the preseason, didn’t play him a lot,” Atkinson said about him. “I think he’s starting to hit his stride a little bit.”
Bogdanovic only has one steal on the season, so that is an area that he really needs to improve. The Nets can’t afford to have any players that play defense like James Harden.
Lopez will also need to find his rhythm on defense. He also only has one block on the season, which just isn’t going to cut it. He is Brooklyn’s best big man, and he is going to need to play like it.
Oct 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez 911) defends against Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) as he goes up for a shot during a preseason game during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Overall, this team doesn’t look that bad. I don’t know why they are getting so much hate from everybody, claiming that they will be the worst team in the league because so many teams don’t look nearly as good as they do right now.
They still have areas to improve on, but they are a team that can still win because of their explosive offense, so don’t count them out. They are not out of the playoff hunt although it is still too early to tell, but their defense will make or break them. It is almost impossible to be successful and have to purely rely on your offense.
The Nets will face off against three teams that aren’t extraordinary, but if they can’t find any defensive success, then they can potentially drop all three of those games and it just gets harder from there.
Brooklyn will have to face off against the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Portland Trail Blazers before the end of the month. This is the time for them to figure out their identity and to figure out what they need to fix defensively. If they can’t figure these things out, then they won’t stand a chance in their tough November schedule.