Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez

Who fits best next to these guys? The answer may surprise you. (AP)

While you may disagree on the order of importance, any reasonable fan, analyst, or writer would agree that Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez are the three most important players to the Brooklyn Nets. Each player serves as an important fulcrum to the lineup, which is why the Nets play sparse minutes without at least one of them on the floor.

Because of that, I decided to take a look deeper into the numbers, to see how the Nets play when the "Big 3" share minutes with the team's role players. Specifically, I wanted to answer this question: how is the starting lineup best handled with the team's best players?

Because of that, I took a look at five Nets players who have the best chance of shaking up (or getting shaken out of) the rotation as the season winds down. Using the team's plus-minus when the Nets "Big 3" shared the floor with those players as a baseline, here's a list of what I think are the best role players to have in the lineup with those three guys.

Before we look at those five players, here's a list of (dis)honorable mentions... MORE →

 

Tony Parker, Keith Bogans

Tony Parker (AP)

Even without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Brooklyn Nets 111-86 Sunday night, mostly thanks to their stellar point guard Tony Parker. Parker, who finished with 29 points and 10 assists, seemed to toy with the Nets at will, hitting shot after shot and finding open teammates for three-pointers throughout the game.

"The strategy was to get as much help as we could for the guy that was covering him," coach P.J. Carlesimo said after the game, "play his pick and rolls. If he beat us, make him beat us outside. ... The strategy obviously wasn't good enough for Tony tonight."

Gerald Wallace was more blunt about it: "Tony Parker runs the pick-and-roll pretty much better than anybody in the NBA."

It wasn't a stroke of magic, nor a stroke of luck, it was merely a great player reading the game and making the right decision in the pick-and-roll. Let's take a look.... MORE →

 

The 13-35, 8-7 with-John-Wall Washington Wizards host the 29-20 Brooklyn Nets tonight in Washington. Here's three things to watch... MORE →

 

Gerald Wallace, Brook LopezLeBron James. Dwyane Wade. Chris Paul. Kevin Durant. Brook Lopez?

Maybe not so far-fetched.

David Thorpe of ESPN.com... MORE →

 

Steve Nash,  Deron Williams,Brook Lopez

An example of Lopez's mistake. (AP)

In a game the Brooklyn Nets were favored to win, against a team four games below .500, a team missing Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, a team that lost Pau Gasol midway through the fourth quarter, the Nets could not find a way to close out, getting stymied & stuffed by some combination of their own ineffectiveness and Kobe Bryant's narrative.

Bryant, who shot a pedestrian 9-24 from the field, threw down an emphatic slam on Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries in the fourth quarter, and later scored on a twisting layup that helped catapult the Los Angeles Lakers to their 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn at Barclays Center AKA The Black House. After an and-one bucket by All-Star Center Brook Lopez gave him his second 30-point game of the season and the team a slim 83-82 margin with 2:33 left, the Nets did not score again as Los Angeles rattled off 10 points to seal the victory.

"I'm not... MORE →

 

DeMar DeRozan, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace

AP

With Reggie Evans routinely throwing up scoreless games, Mirza Teletovic racing through hot and cold streaks, and Kris Humphries buried at the end of the bench, one of the louder concerns recently stemming from Brooklyn is the need to upgrade the power forward position, most likely via trade. It's a legitimate concern: the roster is otherwise rock-solid, the team's succeeding, and the only major issue it seems to have is at the 4 spot.

Or does it? What the debate ignores is that the Brooklyn Nets, whether they think so or not, already have a starting-quality power forward... MORE →