Hi, Tony Brown. Welcome to the hottest seat in professional sports!
You’ve inherited an offense that went completely in the tank after Jarrett Jack tore his ACL, defensive personnel that lacks the speed to keep wings and point guards from collapsing the defense, and… Andrea Bargnani. In short, I’m going to be very patient with your interim tenure.
The win-loss column will not matter much to me, but how you use the personnel is what I’ll be paying attention to. So here, Tony Brown, whether you want it are not, are some suggestions from a GM who works from the comfort of his apartment and gets compensated in heartbreak.
Put Shane Larkin and Thomas Robinson in a position to succeed
I do not know if there is a quicker 1/5 pick-and-roll combo in the league. I want to see if they can put that speed to work on the offensive end.
Place some shooters around them (I know: you don’t have many of those, either), but let’s say Johnson at the four and Ellington and Bogdanovic at the wings and see if this is a pick-and-roll combo that scores. If Robinson is not the ideal dive man or Larkin can’t make the right move when help comes, the next Nets GM (who will operate from an office instead of couch) will know exactly what type of players he has.
Run some pick-and-rolls with Thaddeus Young
If there’s a Nets player who deserves to get his number called it’s Young. If the point guard gets trapped, he’s an able ball handler who might be able to navigate a developing 4-on-3 situation. Unlike Lopez, he can elevate fears in an opponent that they may end up on a poster. His mid-range jumper has fallen lately, so pick-and-pops could be an option, too.
Thad’s thrived as the garbage man on offense, but take a look at whether you can give him the keys to the offense in a pinch.
Find out what’s the optimal front court pairing for Lopez
RealGM’s Brett Koremenos suggested this – and he’s pretty spot on: See if Lopez punishes defenses if paired next to a stretch four like Joe Johnson. Surrounding Lopez with the optimal personnel can help the team decide if he’s a franchise-level star or a complementary player.
Another wrinkle I’d take a look at: How many offensive rebounds can this team pull down if you pair Lopez with a superior rebounder like Thomas Robinson? Lopez-Robinson is not the ideal partnership for spacing, but maybe in a smaller NBA maybe it’s time to zig when the rest of the league zags.
Solve this riddle and you’ve done the franchise a world of good.
Play lineups without Sloan or Larkin
On occasion, Lionel Hollins got downright weird. It was one of the strengths of his short and tumultuous tenure. For example, in the opener, he played without a point guard. It kind of worked!
This site has written at length at Joe Johnson’s ability to facilitate. Some of the Nets’ best looks come when Young puts the ball on the floor and attacks the defense. So, let Markel Brown guard the opposing team’s primary ball handler and see if someone else can drive the Nets’ sputtering offense.
Give the Young Guys a Shot
If getting weird was a Hollins strength, his quick hook on the young guys was a weakness. If Willie Reed is rolling on defense, let him miss a lay-up. When Chris McCullough returns, see if he can recover from a poor pass or missed assignment. On behalf of recliner GMs across the globe, we’re pro whatever Rondae Hollis-Jefferson wants to try.
My scant hopes and dreams for this team are tied to Markel Brown finding his jump shot or McCullough being an absolute steal. Not winning a game because Bargnani is hot from 18 feet and hasn’t set an illegal screen all game. Give the young guys some run!
Any other of my couch GMs have a suggestion?
Leave them in the comments section below! If Coach Brown doesn’t listen, maybe we can all offer each other therapy moving forward. But I’m interested what you would like to see with Brown at the reins.