Who’s Best With The Nets’ “Big 3”? Because It’s Not Reggie Evans

Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez
The Brooklyn Nets’ current talent only goes so far. (AP)

1. Keith Bogans: 356 minutes with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez; +8.0 per 100 possessions

(AP/Sue Ogrocki)

I’ve harped on this topic for some time now, but it bears repeating: with Keith “Role Star Hip Hop” Bogans in the game with the starters, he plays substantially better — and they do, too. In a significant sample size of 356 minutes, the Nets are +8.0 with Bogans sharing the floor with the “Big 3.”

Bogans functions as the fourth or fifth offensive option better than anyone else in Brooklyn. He is the ultimate floor spacer: he rarely tries anything he’s unable to do, allows Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to probe the lane while Lopez flourishes in the high-low post, and forces defenses to adjust to his corner threat or suffer the consequences. Some in the Nets organization believe that Bogans’ defensive reputation is a bit overstated — he flourished most under Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and is a system defender above all else — but he’s still solid at his position, both forcing offensive players to work and allowing Johnson & Williams to guard lesser players to preserve their energy.

Bogans, interestingly enough, functions offensively in a similar way to Teletovic — the only difference is that he’s been making his three-pointers; 37.1% for Bogans (and better with the starters), and just 31.7% for Teletovic. Add in his defensive acumen, and it appears that the team is best when he’s sharing the floor with the team’s best players.

This leads to an obvious conclusion: how does the offense look when the five men on the floor are Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Mirza Teletovic, and Brook Lopez?

Really, really good.

The sample size is minuscule — just 28 minutes — but when Teletovic & Bogans share the floor with the Big 3, Bogans has made six of eight three-point attempts and they’ve outscored opponents 81-58. Yes, that’s right: 81 points in 28 minutes.

Part of that success just comes from getting shots up. Lopez rarely turns the ball over in the post, and with two smart attackers and two spot-up shooters, there’s not a lot of room for turnovers. In total, the Nets — who have relinquished over 20 turnovers in three consecutive games — have allowed just four turnovers with this lineup, adding up to a paltry turnover rate of 7.4%. (To compare, the Nets’ current starting five has a turnover rate of 17.4%.)

The lineup has some significant issues in the limited minutes — most notably rebounding the ball — and their scoring simply isn’t sustainable at that level. But it’s a hell of a start.

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