Nets look to win two straight at home

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)


by Justis Doucet


Resolution: Keep firing three-pointers, but use your length on the defensive boards to limit second-chance points


The NBA has turned into a shooter's league and that’s no exception for traditional NBA big men. This year, Brook Lopez has extended his range outside the arc, connecting on 37% of his three-pointers this season -- but it's a completely new unearthed skill for the center. Looking back on his career numbers, this adaptation to his game has come out of the blue entirely. Prior to this season, Lopez had shot 31 deep bombs as a career-total; but through 28 games this season alone, he’s hit 57 of 153. 


So, yeah, that's a game-changer for the once-nearly-extinct big man.


To this point, Lopez has often been the difference between a five point loss and a twenty point loss this season for the Nets, which is kind of what we expected. Lopez’s shooting has drastically improved his game too, as he’s able to drag opposing centers out of the paint, which opens it up for either Trevor Booker's insane offensive rebounds or for guards driving to the basket as the opposing shot rim protector must guard Lopez in the corner.


Although Atkinson and Lopez have made the decision for the big man not to really play in back-to-backs, this has obviously hurt the Nets in the win column, but with an eye of long-term health, it's tough to get too upset about that.


Lopez is nearing career-highs in most categories, and his scoring average of 20.5 a game is two-tenths off his career-best. In addition, he has quadrupled his assist numbers over the last two years (0.7 per game to just a hair under 3), a remarkable improvement for a veteran at the center position. With Lopez now scoring from outside, his inside numbers have improved as defenders must cover more space on the floor, seeing as, on top of the 37% three-point percentage, he’s shooting 53% from two-point range -- the third highest mark of his nine-year career.


One thing that Lopez could hope to improve on for the 2017 calendar year is rebounding. You've likely read two trillion (guesstimate) articles about Lopez's poor rebounding numbers and while he's always surrounded by strong players in that category (Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries, Trevor Booker, etc), he could stand to help out a bit more there. Of course, as he finds himself out by the three-point line more and more, those numbers aren't likely to rise -- but, hey, Lopez can't do it all by himself, so he mostly gets a pass there.

Opponent: Atlanta Hawks Time: 06:00 PM EST Location: Barclays Center Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO Listen: 660 AM, 101.9 FM The Brooklyn Nets had their most successful month of the season in March, going 7-10 and kicked off April with a win over the Orlando Magic, 121-111. The Nets will play the Atlanta Hawks […]

Nets look to get a win against Dallas

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)


by Ryan Carbain


Resolution: Pray for health


When Kenny Atkinson took the Brooklyn Nets' head coach vacancy, he knew it'd be a tough task -- but it's not clear if he signed up for the league's worst record. 


While the Nets have improved their once plodding pace (they currently run at the fastest pace in the league), and transitioned to an offense with a much more modern shot distribution, they rank near the bottom in the league in offensive rating (26th). 


The defense has been even worse, as they rank 27th in efficiency at a miserable 101.3 clip -- so what gives?


Of course, most of this is due to injury, particularly so to that of Jeremy Lin. No one could have predicted that Isaiah Whitehead would play the most minutes at point guard this season come 2017 and, unfortunately, there's no end in sight. And in other instances, players have been unable to convert the open looks or handle their defensive assignments at all. 


While Atkinson's squad has a reputation of a team that plays hard, I doubt that's good enough for the rookie head coach. 


There are positives to the coach's' tenure thus far, that is certain. The Nets' offense has emerged from the dark ages and he's been especially successful in procuring solid minutes from players like Joe Harris, Anthony Bennett, and the aforementioned Whitehead -- all of whom would be at the end of another franchise's bench. 


For a resolution, Atkinson should pray for a healthy team (or at least a healthy point guard), consider tinkering with a leaky defensive scheme that asks too much of the team's slow-footed big men, and stick with the general program. The goal of this season is developing players and schemes for the future and, on that front, the team has at least seen a little bit of success.

Opponent: Dallas Mavericks Time: 12:00 PM EST Location: Barclays Center Watch: YES Network, Fox Sports GO Listen: 660 AM, 101.9 FM   The luck of the Irish prevailed on St. Patrick’s Day as the Brooklyn Nets couldn’t close out in the final moments of Friday’s contest against the Boston Celtics and fell, 98-95. Despite a […]

Nets get a taste of Yogi-Mania for the first time in Dallas

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

  Time: 09:00 PM EST Location: American Airlines Center Watch: YES Network/ Fox Sports Go Listen: WFAN 660AM/101.9FM After failing to close out against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets end its circus road trip Friday against Dirk Nowitzki and the hosting Dallas Mavericks. Even though Nowitzki became the sixth player to score 30,000 […]

Nets vs. Knicks: Battle of the Meh

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Opponent: New York Knicks Time: 7:30 PM EST Location: Barclays Center TV: YES Network Radio: WFAN January was a tough month for the Brooklyn Nets as they went 1-16 with their only win coming against the New Orleans Pelicans in an offensive outlier a few weeks ago. The disastrous month finished on Monday with a loss […]