UPDATE: Deron Williams says he "might" need surgery on his inflamed left ankle following the 2012-13 season.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams will sit at least two practice days after receiving an injection to temper inflammation in his left ankle.

From the New York Daily News:

The team announced he had been diagnosed with synovitis, an inflammation of the tissue lining in a joint — in this case his ankle. While this flared up after the Nets’ preseason loss to the Knicks Wednesday night, Johnson said Williams has been having minor nagging issues with both ankles since the offseason.

“(It has been) bothering him off and on, but he didn’t think much of it,” the coach said. “It was more in the offseason and, every now and then, it would act up on him, but we didn’t limit him in practice or anything.
“He’s just been icing it, and we had to send him to the doctor and check them out. He saw a little mild tendinitis in there, and hopefully this treatment program that he’s on will help him, and he’ll be ready to go in the next 24-48 hours.”

Read More: New York Daily News -- Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson says Deron Williams has ankle tendinitis, will miss two practice days

The injury didn't keep Williams from smiling on Jimmy Fallon.

 

Check out cc.com/tattoo to vote on Deron Williams' opening night tattoo. Or vote for Betty White. Or, as Deron Williams put it, "who doesn't love Betty White?"

D-Will also talked about opening night in anticipatory terms, not something he normally does:

It's a big game. It's a big game for both teams. Just to kick off the season, kick off the rebirth of a franchise, and Brooklyn's behind us. So we're really excited about the game, just can't wait for it to get here.

Nets waive Scott, Mays

Posted on: October 27th, 2012 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

The Brooklyn Nets have waived forwards Carleton Scott and James Mays, according to the New York Post.

These were both expected; Scott & Mays had little hope of making the team over Josh Childress & Andray Blatche, the other two non-guaranteed contracts on the roster. The Nets now officially have a fifteen-man roster, the one they'll likely take into opening night.

Welcome to The Brooklyn Game

Posted on: October 26th, 2012 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

So, some of you may be thinking right now, "Where am I? I just went to NetsAreScorching.com, my favorite Nets site for news, analysis, and Cialis medication, and for some reason I'm at this new website! I fear change!"

Some of you may have come here never having heard of Nets are Scorching -- and are maybe now intrigued by the Cialis -- but are curious about this new phenomenon known as the Brooklyn Nets.

You're both in the right place. Welcome to The Brooklyn Game, a comprehensive new site dedicated to the on-court and off-court evolution & impact of the Brooklyn Nets. A great city with a professional team deserves a world-class website, and The Brooklyn Game includes the full archives from Nets are Scorching and some of its staff -- but has added many new elements.

The Brooklyn Game brings you everything Nets are Scorching did -- including hardcore X's-and-O's basketball analysis, links to the best Nets talk around the web, interviews -- and more:
... MORE →

 

From the section named "Jesus Christ Your Team Sucks," by Jared Dubin:

But… you’re still the Nets. You’ll never truly own the city that has had Knickerbocker-blue blood since 1946. Like the Mets, Jets and Islanders, you’ve always come second, and probably always will. Brooklyn’s hip and all, but it ain’t Broadway (to be fair, neither are the Knicks, but this is my section, damn it). Your elite point guard hasn’t really been elite since he came to your team a year and a half ago. Your shooting guard is hilariously overpaid, on the wrong side of 30, and isn’t Dwight Howard, the guy you really wanted this offseason. Your small forward is also overpaid, is in decline, and used to be a Bobcat. Your power forward is basically a Kardashian. And your center grabs more comic books than rebounds, and is so bad at defense that he can’t even defend himself from that terrible joke. Your bench consists of vaguely valuable cast-offs, an unknown Euro-dude and Jerry Stackhouse. And Avery Johnson still has a really annoying voice. You’re capped out from now until eternity with a team that isn’t quite a contender.

Prokhorov can needle Jimmy Dolan and the team across town all he wants. You can strike up rivalries from now until forever. It won’t matter. You’re still the Nets.

Read more:
Hardwood Paroxysm -- The 2012-13 Hardwood Paroxysm Season Preview: The Brooklyn Nets"

 

Andrew McNeill, writing at HoopChalk, discusses how the Nets can facilitate their offense in the post -- but not through Brook Lopez.

Through video and text, McNeill shows off how the Nets utilized starting backcourt Joe Johnson & Deron Williams on the low blocks, and how that setup leads to additional opportunities for the Nets. While none of the plays show Williams & Johnson scoring in the block, McNeill notes that the mere post threat that each possesses forces defenses to re-align, leading to multiple open opportunities for the entire offense:

According to Synergy Sports, Joe Johnson produced 1.01 points per possession (PPP) in the post last season. Deron Williams had .82 PPP. These numbers don’t take into account assists or whether or not each player’s team scored on the play, just the end result for the individual. If you factored in how often each player’s team scored on the play when they initiated the offense out of the low block, I’m sure the PPP would be much higher.

You can see in the following play how much attention Williams draws in the post. Even after kicking the ball back out to Keith Bogans at the top of the arc, Bogans’ defender is still concerned about the ball getting back into Williams on the block. After some deliberation, Bogans ends up with an open 3. In related news, the Nets are playing the Wizards.

Read more: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brooklyn, and the low block -- HoopChalk

 

The Brooklyn Nets announced today that they've waived Stephen Dennis from the training camp roster. The 6'6" Dennis played 21 minutes in three preseason games with the Nets, recording two points, one rebound, and one steal. Kutztown University's leading all-time scorer was not expected to make the team.

The Nets roster now stands at 17, with four non-guaranteed players remaining (Andray Blatche, Josh Childress, James Mays, and Carleton Scott) fighting for two remaining spots. Blatche and Childress are expected to make the team.

 

Kris Humphries Brooklyn Nets Media Day

The NBA released the results of its annual NBA GM survey today, in which the league asks its 30 general managers 57 individual questions about the NBA. The Brooklyn Nets came up as answers to those 57 questions twelve times, most notably as the NBA's most improved team: 18 of 29 GM's (one didn't answer) picked the Nets as the team to improve the most after last season.

Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King was not allowed to vote for the Nets, so all votes came from around the league.

Other places the Nets showed up, along with the leaders in those categories:

  • Four GMs picked the Nets to win the Atlantic Division, tied with the Knicks (20 picked the Boston Celtics).
  • Two GMs picked the Nets as the team that made the best moves this offseason (25 picked the Los Angeles Lakers).
  • One GM each picked Deron Williams and Joe Johnson as the one player acquisition will make the biggest impact (27 picked Dwight Howard).
  • Three GMs picked the Joe Johnson trade as the most surprising move of the offseason (11 picked Steve Nash to the Lakers).
  • Two GMs picked Mirza Teletovic as the international player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2012-13 (Five picked Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas).
  • One GM each picked Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries as the league's best offensive rebounder (16 picked Kevin Love).
  • Two GMs picked Deron Williams as the best passer in the league (17 picked Steve Nash).
  • One GM picked half-black but melanin-minimized Brooklyn Nets power forward Kris Humphries as the "player who does the most with the most limited natural ability," a.k.a. "NBA's Best White Guy Award." (10 picked Kevin Love).
  • Two GMs picked Reggie Evans as the toughest player in the NBA (eight picked Kobe Bryant).

 

Avery Johnson's not normally known for criticizing his roster. Even on last year's 22-44 team, Johnson was mostly positive and forward-looking (and, as anyone who saw a press conference last year would attest to, ensured us all that his guys were "battling").

Today was a bit of a different story, as Johnson admitted that the team is a step behind where he expected them defensively. "We don't have a hit-first mentality," Johnson admitted. "And if you don't have a hit-first mentality, you're gonna get hit."

We haven't had the type of defensive intensity, physicality, that i'm looking for. This team does not have the personality that I thought it would have at this point. That's been somewhat of a disappointment.

Are they trying? Yes. Is anybody panicking? No. But we should have a little bit more of a physicality, a presence, and communication on a loud level on the court. We haven't gotten that consistently.

Throughout training camp and preseason, the Nets have set their focus almost exclusively on defense. Brook Lopez estimated that the training camp handbook leaned roughly "80 percent" towards the defensive end on media day. Joe Johnson today stressed its importance, saying that "we can't rely on offense and then defense, it has to be defense first."

The Nets allowed the Sixers to hit 22 of 32 field goal attempts at the rim on Wednesday night and got beaten out of most of their defensive coverages. When they stacked the strong side early, the Sixers whipped the ball to the open man on the weak side for three-pointers; when they manned straight up, the Sixers confounded them with pick-and-rolls and the Nets didn't communicate.

It's not hard to see where the issues are. "We've been inconsistent with our pick-and-roll coverages," Johnson specifically noted. "We've got three different coverages, some that I've never heard of before. So we've had to straighten that out a little bit."

Joe Johnson also bemoaned the coverage issues. "Our coverages that we've been going over in practice, we really haven't been executing. It's hurt us the past couple games. That's why it's the preseason, we're trying to get it down before the season starts. … I wouldn't say it was a lack of effort. I think the effort was pretty good. We've just had a lack of communication."

Net Worth: 76ers 106, Nets 96

Posted on: October 19th, 2012 by Chris Hooker Comments

 

Nets fall to 3-2 in the preseason.  Tonight's contest featured some positives, some negatives and lots of shaky defense.  The game was close back and forth throughout, and would have probably been a lot closer had it actually been a regular season game.  Again, #WeTalkinBoutPreseason.  

Your powered-down Net Worth:

Deron Williams: Four assists doesn't do his distributing tonight justice.  Was passing the ball first all night and was able to knock down some big shots.  Found a lot of open looking from setting picks and posting up down low.  He was great off the ball.  Didn't shoot very well from behind the arc, and seemed a pretty sloppy on fast breaks.  Grade: B+

Joe Johnson: Started off slow, but got hot in the 4th quarter.  Saw some of the good parts of Iso-Joe, and has seemed to develop some good chemistry from D-Will.  Grade: B+

Gerald Wallace: Not the insane Crash we've seen all preseason, but a solid offensive performance nonetheless.  Dorrell Wright got the better of his match-up, however, and didn't win the rebound battle.  Grade: C

Kris Humphries: Poor shooting.  Very poor shooting.  Rimmed out a lot of jumpers, but didn't get a lot of minutes.  Victim of preseason rotation. Grade: D

Brook Lopez: Love what I've seen out of Lopez this preseason.  Scoring all over the court, nailed some nice hook shots and backdown jumpers.  Defensively, he still isn't where we'd like him to be, but it's going to be a work in progress.  Rebounding numbers were just fine, and it's great to see him actually go after those balls.  What he brings to the Nets offense, especially after a season with Shelden Williams, is just staggering.  Grade: B+

Andray Blatche: Really impressing me so far.  Tonight, he wasn't as on point as in previous games, but still is a great presence down low and has the ability to score anywhere in and around the paint.  He missed some shots he should have made.  Grade: C+

C.J. Watson: Played a lot off-the-ball tonight.  At point, he was pretty frustrating.  Too slow in transition, and didn't take open shots.  Missed a lot of opportunities on the weak side.  I want to see him shoot more, especially when he is open around the arc. Grade: C-

MarShon Brooks: Not sure what took him so long to come off the bench.  He could be hurt, he could not know the rotations, he could just be a victim of an Avery experiment.  However, when he was on the court, he was vintage MarShon, making some nice jumpers and taking good shots. Grade: B+

No longer undefeated

Posted on: October 19th, 2012 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

The streak has broken!

After three consecutive wins in ultimately meaningless preseason fashion, the Brooklyn Nets finally fell apart in ultimately meaningless preseason fashion, losing 115-85 to the Boston Celtics in Brooklyn. The Nets fell behind 9-0 in the first 76 seconds and never recovered, trailing by double digits for the last 32 minutes of the game. I'm not sure what the team's defensive rating was by Avery's standards, but by regular ones, the Nets allowed those 115 points on only 94 possessions.

It was as ugly as it sounds. The Brooklyn Nets shot 37% for the game, just 6-21 (28.6%) from beyond the arc. They recorded more turnovers (18) than assists (16), and got blown out by 30 points despite shooting 21 more free throws over the course of the game. The Nets allowed the Celtics to slice inside without incident: the Celtics made more field goals in the restricted area in the first half (17, in 22 attempts) than the Nets did in the entire game (16, on 37 attempts). Not to be outdone by their own ineptitude, the Nets also allowed the Celtics to shoot 11-19 from beyond the arc, most of that damage done by Jason Terry (5-5) and Paul Pierce (4-4).

The Celtics are a vastly better defensive team, and it showed. But though the Nets lost this game deservedly and handily, the defensive effort wasn't as bad as the numbers might indicate. There were moments when the Nets played what appeared to be solid defense for the entire shot clock, only to see Jason Terry nail a 3 with a hand in his face. Or Kevin Garnett hit a fallaway turnaround with a hand in his face. Or Paul Pierce nail a 3 with a hand in… you get the idea. The Nets did contest a fair share of shots. They just didn't contest enough. The Celtics hitting tough shots only turned it from "decent win" to "complete blowout."

"We needed a game like this against a good defensive team," Deron Williams said after the game. "We need to play better against a team like this." Tyshawn Taylor concurred: "I think we needed this a bit. We can go back to the drawing board, see where we made our mistakes, and just get better from it. We can always turn a loss into a positive."

"As competitors, we don't like losing," Taylor later added.

The Celtics were undoubtedly the better team, but Thursday night's game served as a reminder that while Paul Pierce is a man of indomitable skill, luck does play a subdued role in a game-to-game ebbs and flows. Pierce and Terry won't combine to go 9-9 every single night, just as Williams and Johnson won't go 6-22. And consider Tuesday: the Celtics won't always allow a team sitting their starters to beat them on their home court.

Regardless, the Nets don't have too much time to dwell on this loss -- they play again less than 24 hours later, against the 76ers, in Brooklyn.

Also, need I remind you that it's preseason?

More notes:

-MarShon Brooks is healthy, and barring a later injury, should have no issues playing the remainder of postseason. However, Avery Johnson noted pregame that his assumed role as the sixth man of this team is in jeopardy: "We're not going to box ourselves in. It'd be great if (he) was in the sixth man role, but right now with the way C.J. and Blatche and those guys are playing… Joe Johnson is going to anchor our second unit. So he would be the default sixth man."

-Tyshawn Taylor is also healthy.

-Crash watch: jumped and tap-danced on the scoreboard diving after a loose ball, got a sweet chasedown block on a dribble-drive, dove out of bounds on at least two occasions.

-Joe Johnson picked up a flagrant foul in the third quarter on one of the softer flagrant fouls I've ever seen, for pushing Paul Pierce in the back with his forearm until he fell out of bounds. It was absolutely a flagrant, but usually when you hear "flagrant" you think of someone slamming down on a player's back or elbowing him in the chest. This was just a simple, smooth push.

 

Hard to place the blame on any one player in tonight's game -- the breakdowns were systemic, and frankly the Celtics made a lot of well-contested shots. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Courtney Lee, and Rajon Rondo all feasted on open and contested looks, inside and out. After the Celtics jumped out to a 9-0 lead, the Nets never really had a shot. Thank goodness it's just preseason.

Your powered-down Net Worth:

Deron Williams: Williams drove the lane, pulled out his fair share of crossovers and spin moves, and got to the line on solid takes to the rim. The defense easily collapsed on him, though, and he struggled keeping Rajon Rondo in front of him. Threw the ball into defensive coverage often. Grade: C

Joe Johnson: He got open a lot on the weak side. Didn't shoot very well, but got good shots. Grade: B-

Gerald Wallace: No pass is safe when Crash is near the lane. Climbed up on the scorer's table in the first quarter chasing after a loose ball. Later had a nice chasedown block on a dribble-drive. Barring injury, it's hard to imagine him having a "bad" game; he'll miss shots on some nights but the effort is always there. Grade: B

Kris Humphries: *silence* Grade: D

Brook Lopez: Lopez's "rebound attempt percentage" or whatever metric Coach Johnson has him paying attention too was probably better than expected yet again. Lopez scored in the post and got to the line, going back-and-forth with Garnett and Jared Sullinger on multiple occasions. The Celtics played Lopez well in the post on a couple of occasions, doubling him from up-top (his blind side when posting on the right) and freezing him when he started a spin. Did get eaten up by Garnett in one-on-one situations, but that was more a product of Garnett hitting tough shots. Could stand to improve his help defense, though. Grade: B-

Andray Blatche: Yeah, he's cemented his backup 5 role. Grade: C+

MarShon Brooks: Had a couple of nice moves in his first game back -- Shammgod! -- but didn't do much in his time on the floor. Grade: C-

Tyshawn Taylor: Had another decent outing, but he's exhibited a tendency to keep his head down barreling to the basket. Had Joe Johnson open on a defensive rotation at least twice and didn't kick him the ball. Grade: B

Defense: The Celtics did hit a lot of contested shots, but they let Boston get to the rim way too easily and gave up far too many open threes. A discouraging outing, if you believe preseason matters. I withheld giving the Nets an F, but it was close. Grade: D-