5) They want to move the ball.
“In general I’m looking for a system that involves a lot of people that involves a lot of people at every possession so that whoever has the ball that’s open can shoot the ball,” Hollins said. “We’ve got a lot of good shooters, a lot of good decision makers, a lot of high IQ guys and I want to utilize that and take advantage of all the personnel that’s on the floor.”
Implementing a system like this takes time with the right core. Just look at last year’s Nets, who stumbled out to a 10-21 start before rejuvenating their offense and defense in the new year.
There’s hope for this. If Deron Williams is healthy, he’s one of the best passers in the game. The team’s player with the highest ratio of shots per pass attempt, Marcus Thornton, is gone, replaced by point guard Jarrett Jack. Kevin Garnett has a keen eye for floor spacing. Ditto for Andrei Kirilenko.
But what of Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez? Johnson is a smart passer, but more known for his ability to create his own shot, leading to the infamous “Iso-Joe” nickname in Atlanta. Lopez is not a particularly sound passer for a big man, and is a gifted post-up big man. Hollins says they’ll still have moments where they’ll utilize those strengths. “Now I’m not gonna say we’re not gonna iso, I’m not gonna say we’re not gonna post up, but that’s not going to be our focal point.”
What the system will look like exactly is still up for debate. There’s a lot of time between now and opening day, and training camp is for tinkering with precisely those issues: figuring out what works with the personnel and what won’t. Hollins has already said he’s not looking for Grit-N-Grind II with the Nets, because he’s got different personnel than he did when he coached the Memphis Grizzlies.
But the Nets could stand to improve. They were better than their 25th overall ranking in assists per game last season suggests, because of their slow pace — when adjusting for assists per possession, they were closer to the middle of the pack. But with their level of offensive talent, a spread-out offense could mean a lot more swing passes for open shots.