Nets Hall of Fame forwards setting them back

Greg Monroe, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Acquiring Kevin Garnett (center) and Paul Pierce (right) has not paid dividends in Brooklyn. (APP
Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Evans
Garnett (center) has been less effective than Evans (right), who he replaced. (AP)

Evans famously said “I ain’t tryin’ to score” before the 2012-13 season, and his production reflected it: over 80% of Evans’s shots last season came in the restricted area, a testament to Evans’s knowledge of his own limitations, and he hit slightly over 50 percent of those shots. Conversely, Garnett has shot only about 17 percent of his own attempts in the restricted area, converting at a rate of just 45.8 percent — worse than Evans last season.

As he ages, Garnett shies even further from the rim, with disappointing results. He has shot about 65 percent of his shots from midrange this season, up from 57.4 percent last year, but he’s been unable to find the hoop from outside the restricted area, shooting a poor 36% from the field both in on jumpers in the paint and from midrange.

The Nets acquired Pierce, who will be out another 1-3 weeks with a broken hand, to erase Wallace’s poor shooting from their roster and ensure they had a small forward that didn’t shoot like Crash. And so far, Pierce hasn’t shot like Gerald Wallace. He’s shot worse.

Through 15 games played, Pierce has a lower field goal percentage and three-point percentage than Wallace did for the Nets last year:

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Most compare Brooklyn’s November to last year’s Brooklyn December, when the Nets nosedived so sharply after an 11-4 start it resulted in Mikhail Prokhorov deciding to fire then-Nets coach Avery Johnson, waiting a week, then interrupting a heli-skiing trip in British Columbia to axe Avery on his wife’s birthday. (You really can’t make that up.) Those Nets dealt with injuries to Deron Williams and Brook Lopez too. But in truth, these Nets haven’t looked like that: they’ve looked more like the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets, who finished the season with the ludicrous record of 12-70.

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The Nets have struggled mightily to open the season. They haven’t been whole, they say, which is true. They’ve had numerous changes and tweaks to their defensive system. But most notably, they’ve got two new starters, future Hall of Famers, who were supposed to dominate in small roles and make the game easier for everyone on the floor. But so far, those new forwards have only set the Nets back.

Thanks to Daniel Soriano for additional research.