Your Game 1 Nets starters: Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett.
Check out our full Nets-Raptors playoff preview.
It's that time of year. The best time of year. Sixteen teams remain, and every season whittles down to as few as four games. It's the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and the Nets have made it for their second straight year in Brooklyn, finishing the season with a 44-38 record and earning the sixth seed. Here's a comprehensive breakdown of this year's Nets-Raptors matchup, including position-by-position matchups, a look at how the Nets got here, expertise on this year's Raptors, bold predictions, ridiculous fan art, video previews, podcasts, and much, much more.
No, this headline is actually true. According to Bloomberg, Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko will open the first Hooters in the entire country of Russia, apparently flying in the face of Russian "antipathy" towards U.S.-based companies.
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Nets fans: who's your team MVP? We suggest one of three guys: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, or Paul Pierce. Who would you choose? Let us know below.
Shaun Livingston: 76 G, 54 GS, 26.0 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG, .483 FG%, .167 3P%, .827 FT%, 14.5 PER
Terrence Ross: 81 G, 62 GS, 26.7 MPG, 10.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .423 FG%, .395 3P%, .837 FT%, 12.0 PER
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The Brooklyn Nets signed Andrei Kirilenko to a two-year deal (the second year a player option) for around $3.2 million per year, a steep discount from his last salary of $10 million. Kirilenko has missed nearly half the season with various injuries, but has left his spastic, unique imprint on the games he has played. In a video with YES Network, I talk about why Kirilenko is so crucial to Brooklyn's potential playoff run.
Every playoff series has an unexpected hero, a backup who swings a game or two on the heels of something like ridiculous shooting, lockdown defense, or utter control of the glass. Even the record-payroll Nets franchise will need their role players to come up as the game's spotlight gets brighter and brighter. In this video, I explain the two reasons why my X-Factor for this Nets playoff run is Nets forward Mirza Teletovic.
To add to the video, I'm going to mix sports metaphors for a second: Mirza Teletovic is the basketball version of a LOOGY. For the uninitiated, a LOOGY in baseball is a "left-handed only one out guy," a highly specialized relief pitcher that comes in with one job: get the dude who's left-handed out, and get back to the clubhouse where you can hang out and watch TV until the game's over.
Similarly, Teletovic has one job in these playoffs: get open on a pick-and-pop play or sneaking on the weak side, shoot threes, and make them. When he plays with the starters, he gets open an incredible amount -- per the NBA's optical tracking data, Teletovic shoots 40 percent on 3 uncontested threes per game, or over 7 per 36 minutes.
If defenses spend more time worrying about everyone else on the floor who can create off the dribble, and Teletovic gets free... He could hawk a lot of killer LOOGYs in a seven-game series.
It's been a tale of two seasons for the Nets, who turned a 10-21 record at the end of the calendar year into a playoff spot.
In the video for YES Network above, I discuss the reasons why the Nets have turned it around in 2014, including the emergence of Shaun Livingston in their longball lineup, the team's newfound turnover creation (2.7% more possessions) and three-point shooting (5.7 more attempts per game), and Kevin Garnett's impact in the paint.
For some more on how much better the team's gotten in 2014 than 2013, check out the chart below. Third season starts Saturday,
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Joe Johnson: 79 G, 79 GS, 32.6 MPG, 15.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, .454 FG%, .401 3P%, .815 FT%, 15.5 PER
DeMar DeRozan: 79 G, 79 GS, 38.2 MPG, 22.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, .429 FG%, .305 3P%, .824 FT%, 18.4 PER
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Deron Williams: 64 G, 58 GS, 32.2 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .450 FG%, .366 3P%, .801 FT%, 17.7 PER
Kyle Lowry 79 G, 79 GS, 36.2 MPG, 17.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .423 FG%, .380 3P%, .813 FT%, 20.1 PER
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