Brooklyn Film Festival: A Lesson in Poor Pick-and-Roll Defense

The box score from Wednesday night’s season opener will tell you the Nets shot 49% from the floor and 37% from beyond the arc. It will say they took more free throws than the Celtics and made more, and at a better rate, that they out-rebounded Boston and that their bench poured in 46 points.

It might be hard to imagine those snapshot numbers accompanying a game in which the Nets were convincingly blown out and needed a prolific-but-meaningless garbage-time final frame to avoid losing by 30 points. Unless, of course, you had the distinct misfortune of watching them play what I suppose we will charitably refer to as defense, even while it much more apparently resembled a conveyor belt.

Holy cow, they were a train wreck. Read More


Reverse Engineering the Ideal Offense

There is still some mystery surrounding exactly what the Brooklyn Nets will look like on both sides of the ball (and some early season night terrors). We know coach Hollins will expect them to be more active and intense on defense, but there will also be some change to the offensive sets. Over this past weekend I was browsing through some offensive plays that the Memphis Grizzlies ran under Lionel Hollins (as all the cool kids do) when I had a bit of an epiphany.

I was attempting to superimpose some Grizzlies plays onto the Nets personnel when it hit me like a Steven Adams elbow: I need to figure out where these guys should be shooting from. I have since spent a few too many hours analyzing the offensive skills of Brooklyn’s best lineup and reverse engineering a play to get them into those desirable spots. What follows is the result and it contains a lot of semi-technical stuff (which is itself a technical term), so if you like Xs and Os welcome to my nerd party. Read More


RECAP - Nets: 105, Celtics: 121

Brooklyn Nets 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
121 Boston Celtics
Mason Plumlee, PF 11 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -6

The FIBA gold medalist finished the game with just 11 minutes played after averaging well over 20 minutes in the preseason. The strong performance from Mirza Teletovic limited his time to make an impact, but the second-year forward made some defensive mistakes early that must have frustrated Lionel Hollins enough to limit his playing time.

Bojan Bogdanovic, SF 26 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -8

Bogdanovic got the start and attempted to take advantage a cross-match with Rajon Rondo early, but the Celtics point guard was crafty enough to limit the height advantage from the Croatian swingman. After his advantage down low was limited, the small forward nabbed just seven points on 50 percent shooting.

Kevin Garnett, C 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | -11

The Big Ticket played 23 minutes in the season opener and notched 10 points along with six boards against his old team in Boston. Garnett does deserve some of the blame for allowing Kelly Olynyk to score 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting, as the youngster beat KG in transition and cuts to the basket multiple times.

Deron Williams, PG 39 MIN | 6-16 FG | 7-7 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -16

In 39 minutes of action, Williams shot 6 of 16 from the field for 19 points. The point guard opted for a lot of isolation looks from mid-range and struggled to finish at the basket, shooting just 33 percent from the restricted area. Williams failed to make a 3-pointer in the game, but did tally eight assists and a pair of steals.

Joe Johnson, SG 34 MIN | 7-19 FG | 3-5 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -30

Johnson continued the trend of inefficiency in the backcourt by shooting 36 percent from the field in 34 minutes of action. Like Williams, Johnson scored 19 points, but failed to score well in the restricted area. He finished the game shooting 2 of 5 from beyond the arc, but just 3 of 10 from inside the paint.

Mirza Teletovic, PF 23 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +4

As one of the only bright spots for the Nets, Teletovic came off the bench to score 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field in 23 minutes of action. The 29-year-old spread the floor better than anyone else on the team by shooting 4 of 6 from beyond the arc with the rest of the team shooting just 23 percent.

Jarrett Jack, PG 30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -7

Jack played the third-most minutes on the team as he came off the bench to score 11 points with a pair of rebounds, assists and steals. Outside of his 5 of 9 shooting from the field, Jack failed to produce a spark as the leader of the bench unit.

Lionel Hollins

Hollins picked up his first technical of the season after an argument with the officials in the second quarter. In his first regular-season game as head coach of the Nets, Hollins was unable to rally the team to come back from a 67-41 halftime deficit. The offense never seemed to find its sense of balance, as Joe Johnson and Deron Williams attempted to score against a potent defensive backcourt from Boston in Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo and Marcus Smart.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Nets allowed the Celtics (yes, those Celtics) to 61 percent shooting from the field in the first half. The team seemed unprepared for the amount of off-ball cuts made in Brad Stevens’ offense as Rajon Rondo cut through the Brooklyn defense with 12 assists.
  2. The Nets only led once, at the beginning of the game when a pair of free throws opened play for Brooklyn. Although the Nets tried to make a run to begin the fourth quarter, the deficit didn’t fall under 19 points as Boston’s defensive backcourt made it difficult for the Nets to initiate the offense.
  3. Between Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, the Nets played a lot of isolation ball in the first half to deepen their deficit. Although the Brooklyn backcourt scored 19 points each, most of those were outside the design of Hollins’ offensive system. Johnson’s post ups and Williams’ pull-up jumpers limited the rhythm of the offensive unit.


Three Man Weave: NBA Opening Day Edition

Every Tuesday during the season we’ll be posing three questions for three of our experts at the Brooklyn’s Finest Blog to answer. While a few franchises are set to celebrate the start of the 2014-15 NBA season tonight, the Brooklyn Nets still have a day remaining before tipping off in Boston, giving our writers a chance to expand upon their predictions for the upcoming season. We’ll have actual basketball to discuss next week but until then we’d love to hear your responses to these preseason questions in the comments below. Read More


Allow me to re-introduce myself

My name is Verts, D-A-V to the I-D

I used to basketblog back in NYC

I guess starting now you can call me

CEO of the Brooklyn’s Finest, yo!

Fresh out the fryin’ pan into the fire

We’ll be the Nets content number one supplier

Flyer than a piece of paper bearin’ our name

Got the hottest blog in the game, stay out our lane

Okay, enough of that.

Hello there! In case you couldn’t tell by my dope (note: not dope whatsoever) rhymes, my name is David Vertsberger and I’m the proud new owner of Brooklyn’s Finest blog. I was born in Brooklyn and have lived in the borough ever since. When the Nets first moved to Brooklyn, I was giddy as could be despite my allegiance to the Knicks. My borough had an NBA team! How could I not have a soft spot for them? So when the opportunity of running the Truehoop Network’s Brooklyn Nets affiliate blog appeared, there was no way I could pass it up.

Today is our re-launch, and aside from this little “Hello Brooklyn!” message we’ve got some words for you to read! Brian McNichols gives you Brooklyn’s possible scenarios this season, Paul Mitchell breaks down the small forward position, Kevin Echavarria looks at how Jarrett Jack will do in Shaun Livingston’s place, Jeremy Briggs talks about health, John Mazlish proposes a multitude of different lineups, Kenny Garner argues the Nets will miss Andray Blatche, Nick Huth gives the young bloods some attention, and the staff makes their season predictions.

Our goal is to continue bringing the best in Brooklyn Nets coverage, with game recaps, analysis, and weekly columns. Every month, Jeremy Briggs will give you a look inside what kicks the Nets are rocking. Every couple of weeks, Austin Reynolds is going to examine a recent trend of the squad, good or bad. We’ll also have a weekly mailbag from Jonah Jordan, which you can start e-mailing questions to here: bknmailbag[at][dot]com.

All this plus frequent posts analyzing the Nets year round, new columns being implemented and a killer podcast on its way. Welcome to Brooklyn’s Finest, where we hope to live up to the name.


Youth Movement: Youngsters Pushing for Increased Roles with Nets

With the continued presence of seasoned players such as Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko and Joe Johnson, one might not realize that the Brooklyn Nets are younger than last season. With the departure of Paul Pierce, Andray Blatche and the recent injury to Brook Lopez, head coach Lionel Hollins will find himself relying on a few younger talents to fill the void. Read More


The Nets will miss Andray Blatche

When Nets fans remember Andray Blatche, they will most likely remember him for his silly shenanigans rather than for his actual play on the court. There were the numerous times during his two year tenure with the Nets that Blatche mistook himself for Deron Williams and flung up an ill advised three-point shot, or tried a difficult Harlem Globetrotter-esque dribble move and failed miserably. Comedy will not be the only part of Blatche that Nets fan will miss this year as the big man continues his career in China, though. Read More


Health will be key for Nets this season

It has been said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Quite frankly the Nets could have cultivated an entire orchard in Barclays Center and still would have struggled to keep their players healthy last season. While the end result was a solid record and a playoff berth, injuries certainly hampered the lofty expectations that had been set forth. Read More


Goodbye Shaun, Hello Jarrett

Amongst the injury storm that was the 2013-2014 Brooklyn Nets’ season, one name was notable for consistently staying off of the injury reports — Shaun Livingston, who set career highs in games started and played. His resurgence last season was a welcome sight league-wide, as he established himself as one of the better backup point guards in the league with his athleticism, defensive ability and his leadership on the court, before getting picked up this offseason by the Golden State Warriors on a 3-year, $16 million contract.

It is Livingston’s mantle that now falls to the shorter, broader shoulders of Jarrett Jack, the 6’3″ combo guard acquired from Cleveland this past offseason as the Cavs looked to clear cap space to sign some hometown hero who had been toiling away down in Florida. How well Jack can handle his responsibilities will play a significant part in how the Nets fare in the new look Eastern Conference. Read More


Brooklyn’s Small Forward Situation

Paul Pierce couldn’t even make it a full week into the games portion of the NBA’s preseason schedule before taking shots at his former franchise. He expressed early interest in returning to the Brooklyn Nets once Kevin Garnett committed to another season, but never received a contract offer from general manager Billy King this summer and spoke about his departure with David Aldridge. The usual clichés of both parties moving in “different directions” and even the cutting costs conversation were innocuous enough, but the “New Jersey” name drop and the “they felt like they weren’t going to be a contender” comment certainly constituted some shade thrown by Pierce. King responded to The Truth’s trolling by reiterating management’s commitment to winning and spending (the Nets will lead the league in team payroll entering the second-consecutive season) but his depth acquisitions at the wing the last two summers and the changing role of the small forward position in the Brooklyn Nets’ new offense this season have helped make Paul Pierce expendable. Read More