- Teams: Brooklyn Nets (8-14) at Detroit Pistons (10-13)
- Date: December 13, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
Many predicted the Brooklyn Nets would win north of 50 games this season and yet, they have been a disappointment so far in 2013-14 by virtue of their sub-.500 record.
To be fair, injuries have been an issue for this team, but it’s still worth noting that every professional basketball club deals with them. In the case of the Nets, the loss of their best player was obviously a big issue, but not the only one holding them back.
Deron Williams is an incredibly dynamic point guard. Indeed, he operates well both in the pick-and-roll and in post-up situations against smaller defenders. He also has previously shown the ability to beat defenders off the dribble and create plays from that action.
His absence was surely going to affect a Brooklyn team that is mostly devoid of playmakers. But in truth, the biggest issue facing the team is their bad offense. Jason Kidd runs what I call the Mismatch Offense because it is predicated on attacking whatever advantage presents itself on the floor.
In theory this is great, but the results vary depending on the method in place. In the case of the Nets, things could be better. For the most part, they run simplistic sets to get the ball into the post to the player they feel has the best chance of scoring against his defender.
That might be Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce or Brook Lopez. The goal is usually to feed the ball to one of main cogs and allow them to go to work.
Brooklyn uses this strategy to create advantageous scoring options down low or spot-ups for their shooters if the defense converges. The majority of their field goals come in those situations according to Synergy Sports.
It’s a tricky proposition given that Williams and company do a great job of efficiently scoring in post-ups, but the spot-up shooting leaves much to be desired as evidenced by their 37.5 percent conversion rate on these such field goals.
Also, the lack of continuity on offense gives the feel of a playground team full of players simply looking to get theirs. This is part of the reason that their first-year head coach opted to send Pierce to the bench.
Playing him with the second unit allows him to be one of the focal points of the offense and removes at least some of the ball stopping ways of the opening five-man unit.
The Nets have won back-to-back games since relegating Pierce to the bench. In addition, his playmaking has been better although his shooting has suffered. Given that he just recently returned from a fractured hand injury, it stands to reason that he still affected by the ailment.
The role might in fact be a good one for him, but we will need a larger sample size of games to provide a more definitive assessment. It will be interesting to see if the Detroit Pistons can limit the Nets offense tonight.
Detroit has struggled with defending plays with multiple options and so far this season, Brooklyn seems to prefer using rather basic plays. Provided that the Pistons curtail Williams, they have a chance at limiting Brooklyn’s offense and securing a victory.
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