The Morning Tip-Off: Billy King Preaches Patience

Every weekday morning, Brooklyn’s Finest will scour the interwebs for the best (and worst) of Nets coverage from the previous day (and night).

1. Vantage Sports had a great comparison between the two Lopez twins pointing out their many strengths and also leaning towards the conclusion that Robin doesn’t get the credit he deserves for what he does on the court. It’s a great read, with many informative statistics (Vantage always has some interesting numbers). One thing that jumped out to me though was how highly Vantage Sports regards Brook Lopez as a rebounder:

While both Lopezes fared far below average in most Vantage Sports defensive rebounding advanced statistics last season, Robin finished 1st and Brook landed 3rd of 76 centers in DBlockouts per 100 Chances. This demonstrates that the Lopez brothers are masters at positioning and that they are tireless workers on the boards.

Another example of the Lopezes’ proficient positioning lies in their ability to contest shots. Last season, Robin finished 1st of 75 centers in Contest+ rate, while Brook was 3rd. The brothers’ knack for timing and being in the right place underscores the cerebral strengths of their games.

Critics have always pointed to Brook Lopez’ lack of rebounding as a cause for concern (beyond staying on the court). But supporters have typically taken the line of argument that says someone like Lopez or Roy Hibbert for example, is so adept at boxing out that he creates rebounding opportunities for his teammates rather than himself. It’s good to see that proved out in some type of metric.

The article also praises the Lopezes’ defensive positioning and their pick-setting abilities among other mostly overlooked skills. Worth a read.

2. Monday’s Lion Face, Lemon Face of the incomparable Hardwood Paroxysm poured some out for the Brooklyn Nets: a team so bad they could lose at home to the winless Los Angeles Lakers:

It was the game that nobody asked for yet strangely wanted. It could have been billed as the resistible force against the movable object. And it lived up (down?) to the hype. The previously winless Lakers came into Brooklyn on Friday night and, due to the rules of basketball, one of them had to emerge the winner. Nothing exemplified these two teams’ seasons thus far that the sequence with 25 seconds left in the game which saw the Lakers, holding a 98-95 lead, turn the ball over on the inbound only to watch the Nets respond by handing it right back to Los Angeles on a five second violation.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Brooooooooklyn Nets!

3. Tim Bontemps, of The New York Post, wrote about the dark days the Brooklyn Nets organization are currently within.

The Nets general manager said he won’t try to salvage a respectable finish at the expense of the team’s projected $40 million or so in cap space and the young players it does have.

‘We can trade now and eat all that space up, get to 30-something wins and make the playoffs in the eighth spot,’ King said at the team’s New Jersey practice facility Monday afternoon. ‘[But] then, where’s the future now? So it’s about adding the right pieces and being patient.

‘We didn’t get here overnight, and we are not going to get out of it overnight. That’s reality. There is not something where it’s, ‘OK, this is the magic wand and we are going to do this and it’s going to change overnight. We knew that going in, we knew that when we made those decisions and it didn’t work, and so now we’ve got to gradually, systematically dig yourself out of it.’

I’m sure Brooklyn Nets fans are glad to hear that Billy King has learned from his past mistakes. There is no magic wand, Billy King? You can’t just trade away all of your future assets for over-the-hill Superstars and leap from mediocrity to elite?

Of course Billy King is preaching patience now, because both he and Lionel Hollins will continue to be scrutinized for the length of this losing streak, and likely longer than that. And as Bontemps points out, this losing streak could continue for some time:

Sitting at 0-7 without a first-round pick in next June’s draft and a brutal stretch ahead that includes road games in Houston, Golden State, Oklahoma City and Cleveland, it looks like things are going to get worse before they get better.

As they say, it’s darkest just before the dawn, but things look bleak in Brooklyn, and with no draft picks, no confidence in the General Manager that put the Nets in this position, and an uninspiring 62-year-old head coach who seems oblivious to the changes happening throughout the NBA, why should fans be patient? Just blow it up already.

See you tomorrow!