Injuries on the Wing Sapping the Brooklyn Nets’ Strength

An injury to Jeremy Lin has predictably weakened the Brooklyn Nets. However, recent injuries to Joe Harris and Caris LeVert have compounded the negative effects on an already struggling team.

In the midst of a struggling season, the Brooklyn Nets have had an almost countless number of things go wrong. Of those things, their point guard depth has drawn the lion’s share of headlines, but recent injuries on the wing have exposed the team’s lack of depth even further.

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Joe Harris’ recent fight with the injury bug stretched an already thin Nets team even closer to its breaking point. Then, as soon as he came back, Caris LeVert’s knee acted up. He missed his fourth straight game against the Hornets.

Sean Kilpatrick has fallen deep into a midseason slump and young players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Isaiah Whitehead have been asked to do even more.

There have been many encouraging signs from those young players, but all of them commit sins of inexperience every game. Those errors are certainly understandable, but they become magnified on a team as bereft of talent as the Nets. Blips of turnovers and unfamiliarity with the game plan have popped up more and more.

The cumulative effect of injuries on the rotation has been particularly noticeable in the fourth quarter recently. Take the last 10 games as an example: the Nets have posted a -19.6 net rating in the final frame versus a -10.2 rating over a full game, according to NBA.com.

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That is a catastrophic drop-off. Without Harris’ veteran presence the team has apparently been forced to stretch its younger guys beyond their limits. Randy Foye, another veteran has done a good job helping out, but his age makes him a tad unreliable. Bojan Bogdanovic simply isn’t consistent enough.

With the fourth quarter struggles in mind, three of the teams last nine losses stick out a bit more. The Nets have dropped a pair of recent games to Miami Heat, 109-106 and 104-96, as well as a dispiriting 95-90 defeat at the hands of the crosstown rival New York Knicks.

The Nets remained competitive in all of those games, but still failed to come away with a single victory. In the first Heat matchup, they devolved in the second half, and blew an 18-point lead. Similarly, they were in command of the game against the Knicks, before blowing another double-digit lead late. Carmelo Anthony sat the final 12 minutes of that game, by the way.

As questionable as the talent currently on the roster is, the Nets’ recent injuries have hurt the team perhaps more than expected. That the team would struggle without Jeremy Lin was predictable, but it’s entirely possible that the lack of wing depth is an even bigger problem.

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