Get Ready for the Playoffs: 10 Things Nets Newbies Need to Know

P.J. Carlesimo

7) Mikhail Prokhorov said a successful season would be to make the Conference Finals. They probably won’t, and that’s okay. In a press conference earlier this season, Brooklyn Nets owner and billionaire Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov said a successful season would entail making the Eastern Conference Finals. But since the Nets are the fourth seed, the only way they could do that would be to beat the first-seed Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs, the defending (and expected) NBA champions. Pulling off an upset would be the biggest win in franchise history, but whether it’s in the second round or Conference Finals, there’s no shame in getting as far as Miami.

8) Deron Williams was bad, isn’t anymore. Deron Williams’s full-season stats are very good — he averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 assists per game, shooting 44% from the field and 37.8% from three-point range — but even those numbers understate his true ability. Williams struggled massively before the All-Star break from crippling pain in his ankles, but after a detoxifying juice cleanse, three cortisone shots, and platelet-rich plasma therapy entering and through the All-Star break, Williams has played like a new man: 22.9 points and 8.0 assists per game on 48.1% shooting, 42.0% from beyond the arc. As Tom Haberstroh of recently noted, his PER after the All-Star break is 25.2, which would rank as the fourth-best in the NBA.

9) Don’t be fooled by the Nets — their defense is just average. Earlier in the season, the Brooklyn Nets posted a photo on Instagram boasting their “league-best” defense, citing their (at the time) league-best 90.7 points allowed per game. But that number is a sneaky lie, and here’s why: the Nets play one of the league’s slowest paces, which deflates the raw per-game numbers and makes the defense look better than it actually is. While it’s true the Nets allow 94.3 points per game — sixth-best in the NBA — they actually allow 103.6 points per 100 possessions, good for 18th-best in the NBA.

10) The late-game offense goes through Joe Johnson. When the game is on the line, the Nets have tried out a few different plays, but the ball most often ends up in Joe Johnson’s hands — and for good reason: in the final 30 seconds of a game that’s within one possession (i.e. the score margin is three points or less), Johnson is 9-10 from the field this season. On December 14th, Johnson hit the first buzzer-beater in Brooklyn Nets history, a step-back 20-footer to earn the Nets a 107-105 double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons.

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