Williams had played in all five preseason games up to this point. Lopez suffered the injury to his foot during the team's preseason game in Beijing, while Garnett & Brown haven't played since the team returned from China.
Lopez's status for opening night against the Celtics on October 29th is unclear. The other three are expected to play.
We can all agree that the Brooklyn Nets 2013-14 season was a strange one. The Pierce/Garnett experiment, the return of a favorite son in Jason Kidd, the loss of Brook Lopez, that crazy small—big-ball second half, a memorable first-round playoff series win, and an ignominious second round playoff exit.
A constant throughout was Barclays Center and the 17,251 people (on average) who saw the Nets play there… and the almost-commonplace mutterings of ‘huh, this Brooklyn crowd isn’t as crazy as you’d expect’.
And you know what’s amazing? The Nets came in 17th in the NBA last year for attendance. To put that into perspective, the terrible ’13-’14 Cavs squad, who regularly started Alonzo Gee at small forward — came in 16th. 16th!
Why is that? When they moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, the Nets opened up unprecedented levels of fan exposure; suddenly NYC residents from each of the boroughs could jump a subway and get to a game. Tourists who didn’t want to fork out mega bucks for a ticket to see last year’s execrable Knicks squad could just as easily get to Brooklyn and watch the NBA in an arena that’s not as steeped in history, but brims with potential.
A big problem, one that bugged me as season ticket holder, was not so much the product on the floor (even if that Christmas Day game against the Bulls made me want to burn down our tree and steal the presents of every kid in our building), but how their in-arena experience was, at times, about as creative as a Nicole Scherzinger single.
The Nets organization and Barclays worked on some of the problems throughout the year, and when the building is jumping, it’s electric. But too often the Nets, with one of the slickest color schemes in the league and an all things Brooklyn ethos to get behind, were as cool as the guy hassling the DJ to play “an Eve 6 throwback tune, bro”.
So what the Nets need to do is focus on making the Nets fan-going experience something everyone in New York City should be wanting to be a part of, something tourists hear about and go ‘man, we’ve got to see the Nets, I hear their games are awesome fun’. As such, having sat through 44 home games last season, here are some simple observations about how the team can make a Nets game a must-go experience.
On Bleacher Report's Team Stream Now, our Devin Kharpertian broke down the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the Brooklyn Nets heading into 2014-2015. Check it out above.
If you're looking at Facebook Likes, the New York Knicks still run the city.
DNAInfo did a massive study of over 5 million New York City Facebook users between 18-65, and found the Knicks have a stronghold on the borough in terms of pure social media engagement, with almost 11.5 percent of the city's inhabitants clicking "Like" for the New York Knicks on Facebook, as opposed to just 4.9 percent for the Nets. The Nets rank fourth in the city, behind the Knicks, Yankees, and Giants.
The study also found that the Knicks had more "Likes" than the Nets in every available zip code with data across all five boroughs, including Brooklyn.
The post includes an interactive chart, which you can scroll through different zip codes to see how strong fandom is for the Nets, Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Islanders, Giants, and Jets. The post adds that just over 2 percent of Queens residents label themselves Nets fans on Facebook.
The Nets have compiled a 93-71 record since moving to Brooklyn, including one playoff series win. In the same span, the Knicks are 91-73, winning one postseason series in 2012-13 before missing out on the playoffs last year.
The Brooklyn Nets have had a rough travel schedule this preseason. Even though they'll only play six games -- two fewer than most other teams -- they balanced that out with two 14-hour flights to and from China, followed shortly by three preseason games in four nights. Most of the team has talked about feeling jet-lagged from the trip.
Outside of the team's biggest member, Brook Lopez, suffering an unfortunate foot injury, they've come out mostly unscathed to this point. "We're still getting China out of us," Deron Williams admitted after Monday night's victory. "Still getting into a rhythm."
Still, they've won four of five preseason games, the lone loss coming at the hands of the Boston Celtics Sunday night. They'll face them again Wednesday, in their final tune-up before their regular season opener against... the Boston Celtics once again.
Hollins hasn't hinted at his lineup for Wednesday night's game, but given that the team has practice scheduled for every single day after their last preseason game until the beginning of the season, there's a chance he'll limit the minutes of his best players just to make sure they get home. Kevin Garnett, who played with the Celtics from 2007-2013 and had an emotional return last season, is not expected to make the trip with a stomach virus.
Hollins added that he has no expectations whatsoever for their performance Wednesday. "Nothing," he said flatly after Monday night's game. "Just that no one gets hurt."
Hollins might be alluding directly to Williams, who has struggled with numerous ankle injuries over the past three years, recently culminating in surgery on both of his ankles shortly after their second-round loss in the 2014 playoffs. "The fact that he's been healthy is the highlight (of his preseason)," Hollins said of Williams. "He's a good player, he played well, but for me it's just the fact that he is healthy, he's able to move, he's able to push and attack. I'm happy for him."
Williams has averaged 14.2 points in 26.7 minutes per game over the team's five preseason games, shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 7-15 from three-point range. He was notoriously averse to shooting near the rim last season, averaging just 3.2 points on 5.7 drives to the basket in 32.3 minutes per game, ranking 55th in the NBA in points per game on drives, per the NBA's optical tracking data.
Williams himself says he feels much better following the surgery, but he's not 100% yet. "I'm still getting there, still getting my feet under me," he said, noting he'd only just started running at full-speed on September 1st. "There's still scar tissue in my ankles. Just working through it, but I feel good, a lot better than last year. Just continue to get my lift back game-by-game."
In their annual NBA League Pass Rankings, Grantland's Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons gave the Nets (or "Nyets," as they called them) 51 points out of 100, ranking them as the 21st-most fun team to watch in the league, almost exclusively because of YES Network announcer Ian Eagle.
The two ranked each team on watchability from 0-10 by five categories: Relevance/Zeitgeist, Hoops Nerdgasm Potential, League Pass Minutiae, Individual Player Appeal, and Unintentional Comedy/Irrational Affection/Personality Intangibles. They then combined their scores to make an official ranking out of 100.
Lowe says the team "isn't fun to watch," but ranked highly thanks to their herringbone court and "the single best top-to-bottom announce team in the league." Both Lowe and Simmons had high praise for Ian Eagle, who Lowe called a "god among mortals" and Simmons added, "I hope Prokhorov is paying him $20 million a year."
On the court, Lowe also touted the possibility for positional wonkiness with their three European players: Andrei Kirilenko, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Mirza Teletovic, but there's not much beyond that to bring in an outside viewer. There is the intrigue about how Deron Williams's ankles will hold up, or if Brook Lopez can come back fully healthy from his latest foot injury.
In another section of the rankings, Simmons and Lowe kick back-and-forth a Kings-Nets Deron Williams trade, saying the Kings would "roll the dice" on Williams and the Nets should jump at the opportunity to get rid of him:
Simmons: Anyway, I can’t wait for Vivek’s annual Make-A-Splash trade that will undoubtedly boost this ranking. Do they have the balls to rent Rondo for a few months? Would they roll the dice with Deron Williams? Could this be our David West team? My money is on Deron. Just a gut feeling.
Lowe: The Kings trading the farm for a point guard after signing Darren Collison and anointing him the missing piece even though he’s not good, then signing Ramon Sessions to play ahead of Ray McCallum, then trading the farm for a point guard — that would be fantastic. The Nets are optimistic about Williams’s ankles, but they should dump him the first chance they get.
By these five standards, I give the Nets a 27 out of 50.
Grantland: The Annual NBA League Pass Rankings, Part 1
The Brooklyn Nets improved their postseason record to 4-1 with a 99-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night. It's hard to break down much of anything when the Nets, who are missing two starters, take on the 76ers, who are missing fifteen NBA-quality players. But here's a few quick takeaways:
- The 76ers are barely a basketball team, and the crowd showed the fervor that they'd show while watching a high school team that lived 200 miles away; fans were noticeably deader than in their loss to the Boston Celtics Monday night. Matchups matter.
- Mirza Teletovic (save one half in China) and Bojan Bogdanovic have not shot well in preseason. It's preseason. Don't be concerned yet.
- With Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez both out for the second straight game, Lionel Hollins tinkered with the Nets lineup, starting Andrei Kirilenko in place of Teletovic. Kirilenko looked spry in his debut start, attacking the lane with confidence and throwing passes from weird angles, but I don't know if he'll ever make consecutive free throws again.
- Mason Plumlee, who had a below-average rebound rate, picked up 17 rebounds in the starting lineup. So there's that.
- The Nets ran out their official pregame introduction video, interspersing photos of the players in action with Brooklyn brownstones, bridges, bistros, and bicycles as "Put On" by Atlanta native Young Jeezy played in the background. Understated cool, if a bit confusing.
- Some nice pocket passes, drives, and fanciness from Deron Williams, and outside of the requisite "it's preseason, so shoot whatever the hell you want" moments, he did nothing to disprove his health. He did wear a wrap on his right wrist, but it didn't appear to impede his play.
- With four players on non-guaranteed contracts, two open roster spots, and a big man with notorious foot problems, have to imagine that Jerome Jordan and Cory Jefferson make the team out of preseason, while Willie Reed and Jorge Gutierrez get the boot.
The Brooklyn Nets play a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers today, who under the careful eye of GM Sam Hinkie have amassed a seemingly random collection of basketball talent in an attempt to tank for a high draft pick unparalleled perhaps in NBA history. Most of their 20-man training camp roster is comprised of fringe NBA players and injured high draft picks.
To know the 76ers roster is a true test of a hardcore NBA fan, so here's a little bit of trivia to test that knowledge. There are 20 names below. Some of them are members of the Philadelphia 76ers 2014-2015 training camp roster. Some of them are characters from American novelist William Faulkner. Can you spot which is which?... MORE →
The Brooklyn Nets are one of many NBA teams that have put a premium on motion this preseason, preaching a new flex offense based on constant player and ball movement to create open shots.
But is it worth it? NBA.com's John Schuhmann had a different take, studying the correlation between ball movement, player movement, and offensive efficiency. After looking through the numbers, he ultimately concludes that "There is no correlation between ball movement and offensive efficiency," and "the same goes with player movement."
In some sense, he's right. Just moving the ball or the man doesn't necessarily mean that man's in any better position to score, and sometimes more passes can actually be bad for an offense: After all, you've only got 24 seconds to score. But that begs a question:... MORE →
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The Nets played a seemingly oxymoronic historic preseason game Sunday afternoon, losing 95-90 to the Boston Celtics in the first 44-minute game ever in the NBA. The game featured one fewer minute per quarter, and one fewer TV timeout in the second and fourth quarters.
But neither the players nor the coach really seemed to notice much difference.
"I look up there and we're already to the first timeout, so that was kind of surprising," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "That was the only time it really seemed like it was quick. But other than that, I didn't really notice."
Deron Williams, who played 25 of the first 33 minutes but skipped the fourth quarter, said he didn't see much difference, partially due to the preseason rotations, but mostly because it's only a minor factor.
"I kind of play my same rotation, I think, except for not playing the fourth quarter," Williams said. "It's really hard to tell. A minute a quarter, four minutes total in the game, when you're out there real-time you're not really thinking about it. You can't really tell anything."
Nets guard Joe Johnson even admitted that he'd forgotten entirely about the change.
"Honestly, I forgot all about it. At the end of the game, there was probably about a few minutes left in the fourth, and I forgot we was even playing eleven -- what was it, eleven-minute quarters?" Johnson inquired.
Backup guard and 10-year NBA veteran Jarrett Jack agreed that there wasn't much in-game change. "Not in the flow of it," Jack said. "Being that we're used to playing a 48-minute game, you kind of feel it with coming out the last two minutes of the game, you're like, 'man, we really would've had six minutes.' You might get to a time-out or two faster than usual, or you might look up and be like, 'we're already at the six-minute mark.' But it wasn't too noticeable."
Before the game, Hollins said it would take time to implement as a rule, if it ever happened, and that it wouldn't make much of a difference for stars. "If Joe Johnson's playing 35 minutes in a 48-minute game, he's gonna play 35 minutes in a 44-minute game," Hollins said. "It just means the guys coming off the bench will have four less minutes to operate with."
Johnson agreed. "I mean, I don't think it makes that much of a difference, honestly," Johnson added. "It really doesn't. If you still loggin' 36 minutes, it's not really a difference."
The game's official running time was 1:58, nearly 20 minutes shorter than the league's average regulation time of 2:17 last year. Johnson expressed skepticism that they'd ever implement it as a rule.
"I can't sit there and take a minute off every quarter," Johnson lamented. "I know they've been talking about it, but I don't really see it happening."
Jason Kidd & his Milwaukee Bucks were in New York City Sunday afternoon for the first time since the Bucks coach left the city, and in discussing his tumultuous departure from the Brooklyn Nets, Kidd hinted it could've come much earlier.
Kidd told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York that where there's smoke, there's fire, alluding to reports that the Nets considered firing Kidd in December during the team's 10-21 start, evading a question about whether or not he wanted to move on from Brooklyn:
"Did I want to be traded?" said Kidd, whose Bucks play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday. "I think once [the Nets] OK'd the talk to Milwaukee, that just showed, whatever you want to call it, rumors or no rumors that they wanted to fire me in December had to have some legs."
Kidd also denied the report that he'd sought more power in Brooklyn, which led to his departure. "No, I don't need any power. My [job] is to learn how to be a coach and be the best coach that I can be."
ESPN New York -- Jason Kidd discusses Nets' tenure
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The Nets are no longer undefeated in preseason, losing 95-90 to the Boston Celtics in an historic NBA preseason game.
The Nets raced out to an early lead, holding most of the first half by at least double digits behind 15 first-half points from Jarrett Jack. But the Celtics fired back in the third quarter, getting most of their shots close to the basket and drawing shooting fouls, before the Celtics poured on the points in the fourth behind Jared Sullinger, who finished the game with 19 points and 19 rebounds.
It was the first preseason loss for the Nets, who had previously beaten Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Sacramento Kings twice.
The game's outcome was secondary to the running time: for the first time in league history, the two teams played a 44-minute game, with one fewer minute per quarter and one fewer timeout in each half, to assess both the flow of an NBA game and how the game might fit better into a TV slot.
If the NBA thinks it could work, they would implement it in the D-League before turning its eye to the NBA. It would be a massive rule change in a league that doesn't come across rule changes of that magnitude lightly. It would affect the record books, though perhaps not significantly for the league's premier players.
"The change will be for the guys who don't start," Lionel Hollins said about the potential rule change. "If Joe Johnson's playing 35 minutes in a 48-minute game, he's gonna play 35 minutes in a 44-minute game. It just means the guys coming off the bench will have four less minutes to operate with." It a macro sense, he's right: no player has averaged more than 44 minutes per game since 1978, when a 26-year-old Truck Robinson averaged 44.4 in 82 games. It was a different era -- last season's leaders, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler, played 38.7 minutes per game.
But in preseason, those minutes don't matter. Teams don't play a regular rotation in exhibition games, so there's not much for the league to glean from substitution patterns. Likely, the league was more interested to see if a 44-minute game could fit neatly in a TV window. The game ended at 5:11 P.M., exactly two hours after it began. It's not clear what the NBA will take from that, but given the flow of the game, it could fit more neatly into a 2.5-hour window.
Notes on the night:
- Jerome Jordan's making this team. Jordan's played exceptionally well for an end-of-bench big, and kept the streak going with a beautiful spin-and-slam, following it up with a block on the defensive end and a tip-in basket on the next possession. Jordan carried the Nets through a close fourth quarter with his scoring in the paint, With the Nets needing depth in the event of future injury to their big men, Jordan fills a need in the paint and has earned his roster spot.
- Jordan aside, the Nets struggled mightily in the paint: oversized Celtics forward Jared Sullinger rebounded like there were two of him, and the Nets were outscored heartily in the paint and on second-chance points. Missing Kevin Garnett makes a big difference, but Brook Lopez isn't filling the rebounding gap when healthy. These Nets may project as the worst-rebounding team in the league.
- Not a pretty game for Brooklyn's European players: Bojan Bogdanovic and Mirza Teletovic both struggled with their outside shot, and Andrei Kirilenko looked off-balance on a couple of possessions.
- Deron Williams is fast, I would say, faster than most human beings. Other than one egregious airball in the second half, Williams looked strong.
- Great decision-making in the first half by Jarrett Jack, who looked to pass first and still ended up with 15 first-half points.