Looking At Kiki’s Style Of Play

It has been 8 games since Kiki took over, and I think that there has been enough games to start comparing him to what Lawrence Frank has done.  Below is the game by game data for each coach.  I have included Offensive Efficiency, Defensive Efficiency, and Pace.  After the jump, we are going to examine these numbers further.

Defensive Efficiency

Everyone has been talking about the defense (or lack thereof) since Kiki has took over.  The game-by-game breakdown shows us this isn’t anyone’s imagination either.  When Lawrence Frank was still the coach many people (including myself) felt like Frank was holding players accountable on the defensive end.  The team’s defensive efficiency of about 102 (good enough for the top half of the league) when he was the coach proves that.  Since Kiki has taken over, the Nets have given up about 111 points per 100 possessions, which if you compare it to the rest of the NBA, is second worst in the NBA, only ahead of the Raptors.  This ridiculously high number might be skewed though, because Kiki coached the Nets against the Knicks, Warriors, and Hawks, three teams who can put up points in bunches.

Offensive Efficiency

Lawrence Frank’s team was good on defense, but it was the opposite on offense.  Frank’s team was only putting up 91.16 points per 100 possessions, which would be last in the NBA if we were comparing them to the rest of the league.  Some of it had to do with injuries, yes, but some of it had to do with his unoriginal playcalling and his refusal to design plays for Brook.  Since Kiki has taken over, the offense has improved just as much as the defense has gotten worse.  Some of it has been the fact that he has been determined to get the ball to Brook (at least in the first half), but it also has something to do with guys getting healthy.

So what does this all mean?  Well, in his first couple of games Kiki has told the Nets to run and try to put up as many points as possible, and not even worry about defense.  It makes sense, looking back on the Nuggets teams he built, they were very talented offensively, but couldn’t stop anyone on the defensive end.  It remained like that for quite a while in Denver, that is until Kiki left and Chauncey Billups arrived.

I also included pace in the chart, because I think it shows some very interesting things, and it might help tell us what will happen moving forward.  Now, the averages are going to tell you that the difference in pace between Kiki and Lawrence Frank is a small one, but in his first 6 games as a head coach, Kiki has ratcheted up the pace of games.   He even touched 100 possessions twice (the only team to average over 100 possessions for the season is the Warriors).  The average isn’t higher though, because the last two games, the Nets have played at a snail’s pace, keeping the possessions under 90 both times (no team in the NBA averages under 90 possessions).  This is something very interesting to look at moving forward.  What I think has happened, is that Kiki has realized that this team isn’t talented enough offensively to run up and down the court and outscore teams.  If they try to do that, the Nets will almost always hit a cold streak, and the opposing team will pull away at that point.  So I think Kiki is trying to see what happens if the Nets slow it down and limit possessions.  The less possessions there are, the less opportunities opposing teams have to score.  That can only help this poor defense.