The Nets aren't the only thing that traveled from NY to NJ to Brooklyn. (AP)
In its inaugural year, Brooklyn's Barclays Center will host the 2013 NBA Draft, the NBA announced today. The draft will be held on June 27th at 7 P.M., with tickets going on sale on the 22nd.
The draft was held annually at Madison Square Garden from 2001 until 2011, when it moved to Newark's Prudential Center (then-home of the then-New Jersey Nets) for the 2011 and 2012 draft.
“Brooklyn has become a major NBA market and basketball fans throughout the borough will be excited to welcome the next class of outstanding talent into the league,” Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark said in a prepared statement. “Many of the borough’s greatest all-time players have been drafted into the NBA, making this night a perfect fit for Brooklyn. We are honored to host the 2013 NBA Draft as we continue to bring many of the most high-profile sports and entertainment events to Barclays Center.”
Barring a trade, the Brooklyn Nets will have the 22nd overall pick in the first round.
Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson did not practice with the team as scheduled Wednesday and is listed as a game-time decision for Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls.
Johnson, who battled plantar fasciitis to close out the season, said that he is "hopeful" he'll play, and "it was a little bit of plantar in February when it first started, but now it's deep into the plantar fasciitis." Whatever that first part means, the second one is clear: Johnson's foot is not healthy, and it could keep him out for a pivotal playoff game in a 1-1 series.
The Bulls' Joakim Noah is also fighting the same foot injury -- plantar fasciitis -- and played 38 minutes in the first two games, but Johnson does not see a similarity between the two. "I'm chasing guys off screens, penetrating and cutting, and he's a big man so it's a lot different."
Johnson has scored 33 points over two playoff games, but shot just 6-18 in the Game 2 loss.
Before the Brooklyn Nets had ever played a single regular-season game, I sat down with Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz to ask him a few questions about Brooklyn. One thing that came up when talking to Markowitz, a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, were his memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers before they left the borough in 1957. With the release of the movie "42" last week, we felt it appropriate to bring Marty back to share those memories again. Enjoy.
Much of the Nets' breakdown in game two was caused by a spirited Bulls’ defense and an increase in minutes for maniacally-motored Joakim Noah. But the Nets played in a way almost perfectly suited to fail against the Bulls defense.
Let’s breakdown where the Nets went wrong.
An imaginary line, drawn down the center of the court from one rim is called the “help line” and it splits the court into two sides: the side with the ball and the side without. The Tom Thibodeau-led Bulls defense is predicated on flooding the ball side with their four help defenders in the paint, which takes away driving lanes. The defender guarding the ball tries to force the ball handler to dribble into a numbers-down situation, where two or more Bulls defenders can guard the person with the ball.
A key antidote to this smothering defensive style is something the Nets lacked in game two, ball movement. Stagnation with the ball on the perimeter allowed the Bulls to load up their defensive efforts and make the Nets offense become very predictable. This static offense came to a noticeable head in the Nets’ two for 19, 11 point third quarter.
Any time an offense can get the ball to cross over the help line either via pass or dribble, it causes all five defensive players to shift and thus, opens up driving lanes, causes missed rotations and other opportunities for offenses to attack.
Swinging the ball from side to side is important for any basketball offense, but even more so against these modern day NBA defenses that load up on the ballside, like the Chicago Bulls.
The Nets used a stationary offense in the game-deciding third quarter. Watch the clips below from six Nets possessions in the third quarter and pay particular attention to how many passes are made each possession and how many sides of the court the Nets hit (how many times the ball crosses the help line).
In each of these clips you’ll see a trend: not much passing, the ball sticking to one side of the court, late shot clock situations and finally a bad shot.
Here's four potential fixes:
Put more shooters on the court. For those watching the TNT telecast you had to have heard Steve Kerr remarking how the Nets are playing “three on five” offensively when both Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans are on the court, which is true to a certain extent. Neither of those players are threats to score from deep and thus allow the Bulls defenders guarding them to sag further into the paint, clogging things up for the Nets even more. Playing shooters like C.J. Watson, Jerry Stackhouse, Keith Bogans or perhaps even Mirza Teletovic more, may give the Nets more room to operate or make the Bulls pay for stacking their defense to one side.
More play design. Compare the below play with the slogfest of plays that was shown above.
Both of these plays came from the third quarter, but you can see the difference in both ball movement and man movement in these sets. You will also notice the improved shot quality the Nets got as a result.
More transition.As I wrote a few weeks ago, the Nets are facing a set and ready Bulls defense far too often. Looking for more opportunities to run off misses and makes will help the Nets create easier opportunities.
Make the most of these off days. With two days off since game two, the Nets have ample time to iron out any offensive issues. It’s now up to P.J. Carlesimo and the rest of the of the Nets’ coaching staff to highlight examples through film and emphasize ball movement in practice -- so that come game time the players will ping the ball around the court more.
Paul George won the NBA's MIP award. But what if there was a MIPIS Award? (AP)
The NBA Most Improved Player Award is given by a panel of national sportswriters to (duh) the most improved player in the current regular season, as compared to previous regular season outputs from said player. Today the NBA announced that Paul George of the Indiana Pacers won the 2012-13 MIP Award.
But what if there was a Most Improved Player In Season Award, or MIPIS?... MORE →
We haven't talked much about Popeye Jones this year, if only because most assistant coaches don't get much shine or publicity. They're usually in the background: scouting opponents, setting up game plans, doing the dirty work. But at one point during Monday night's 90-82 Game 2 loss, Popeye Jones took it upon himself to take charge at a ref after a shot clock was incorrectly reset. The referee, presumably shocked that a man of Popeye Jones's stature and ear width would respond so vehemently, assessed Jones with a technical foul, his first of the season.
Jones -- whose full name, for the record, is Ronald Jerome Jones -- was right to be upset: the referees claimed Wallace had possession by throwing the ball behind his back as he was flying out of bounds, which clearly wasn't true, and the referees didn't have to stand by since they don't control the shot clock. Brooklyn's fans, as you'll hear in the video, responded with a similar ire.
After getting the technical, Popeye calmed down and returned to his seat on the bench, though the death stare was palpable:
Flummoxing performance, especially after such a sublime outing in Game 1. For all of his ability and all of his decision-making ability, it was just frustrating to see him miss good and bad shots alike. Couldn't hit open shots or contested ones. Definitely his roughest outing since the All-Star break, if not all year.
Joe Johnson SHOOTING GUARD
Didn't hit open shots and fell into an all-too comfortable, all-too familiar, poor isolation-style offense as the Bulls took control of the game in the third quarter. Hit two big threes to bring the Nets back into the game in the fourth quarter, but had his shots fallen earlier, they wouldn't have been in such a predicament.
Gerald Wallace SMALL FORWARD
Other than one gorgeous layup in the first quarter and one equally beautiful and clean blocked shot that was called a foul, a "regular-season effort" from Wallace -- which is not a good thing.
Kris Humphries POWER FORWARD
Couldn't contest with Noah/Gibson/Boozer near the rim, though he did have one nice stretch with buckets on back-to-back possessions, the second a fast-break dunk.
Brook Lopez CENTER
Looked excited out of the gate, including putting down a great dunk in the first quarter, and hit four straight midrange shots in the second. Played decent defense inside, though the Bulls shot better than they did in Game 1. If he was the Nets' second- or third-best player tonight, perhaps they would've had a shot. Unfortunately, he wasn't.
Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD
Had some good moments in the fourth quarter playing power forward next to Lopez but also got burned gambling defensively and had issues catching the ball.
MarShon Brooks SHOOTING GUARD
Entered the game, did almost nothing of consequence, and left 98 seconds later a +6. I don't really have a grade for that, but I felt it deserved notation.
Reggie Evans POWER FORWARD
Played aggressively against Carlos Boozer -- perhaps too much -- but never really left an indelible Reggie-esque impact on this game beyond accidentally dribbling the ball off his foot once.
C.J. Watson POINT GUARD
Hit a few shots and distributed well but really the only major note here is that he really hates Nate Robinson and I respect him for it.