The Morning Tip-Off: Thaddeus Young is Just Fine

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. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes about how the Charlotte Hornets utilized the Brooklyn Nets to get back on track when it came to their rebounding struggles:

Al Jefferson said Tuesday this rebounding mess could get fixed in one day.

Turns out he was precisely right.

You would not have predicted this was the night the Charlotte Hornets would finally get their act together on the boards. The Brooklyn Nets are top-10 in the NBA in defensive rebounding percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and total rebounding percentage.

The Hornets were coming off a game in which the New York Knicks had scored 20 second-chance points Tuesday. They had gone about a week practicing some of the worst rebounding fundamentals in coach Steve Clifford’s two-plus season tenure in Charlotte.

As the article explains, the Nets have been a solid rebounding team all season. Despite the slightly undersized Thaddeus Young playing at power forward, in general, they are typically much bigger than the teams they match up against. And in this space before I linked to Vantage Sports giving a lot of credit to Brook Lopez as far as understanding rebound positioning, even if it doesn’t always translate to large individual rebounding numbers.

It’s a bit surprising to see Brooklyn get out-rebounded 49-37 in the loss last night. Chalk it up to an opponent putting particular emphasis on that aspect of the game maybe?

Read More


Former Knick Shane Larkin Emerging in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nets are not a very good team thus far in the season with a record of 2-9. They have a roster filled with new and exciting young players whom, because of the team’s lack of success, have been able to get minutes early in the season as Coach Lionel Hollins jumbles his lineups.

Of the young players receiving a respectable amount of minutes, Shane Larkin stands out among them. The point guard has proven to be an energetic pairing with Bojan Bogdanovic off the bench.

The third-year guard out of Miami is solidifying his role with his sharp play in the past week, making 53% of his shots which includes connecting on a ludicrous nine of his last 11 from outside the arc. Larkin’s two highest-scoring games were the only two games the Nets have won this season.

Following the first few games of the season it became apparent that the Nets’ lack of three-point shooting and bench production was a major issue. With most of Brooklyn’s bench ice cold to start the season, Larkin is molding himself into a trusted member of the team’s second unit.

The son of recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Barry Larkin, development has been a slower process as many doubted his likelihood to succeed at the NBA level. He averaged 24 minutes per game with the New York Knicks last season, where he started 22 games, and shot 43% from the field and just 30% from outside the arc.

However unsustainable, Larkin has compiled a laughably successful 47% from the field and nearly 53% from deep so far this season. The season is young but this proves that if he is given the keys to run the offense in the second unit that he can put up numbers. Those numbers aren’t exclusively on the offensive side of the ball either.

Defense is the trade in which Larkin has proven to excel in so far in his short career. With the Knicks he collected three or more steals nine times last season despite only starting 22 games. If given starting minutes Larkin could find himself among the league leaders in steals. Larkin has continued to thrive on the defensive side of the ball with Brooklyn as he has eight steals in his last five games.

At just 23 years old it is important to stress just how young Larkin still is. With current starting point guard Jarrett Jack likely not being a part of the future as he leads the team in a rebuilding era, seeing Larkin continue to improve in the next two seasons could make the Nets reconsider focusing on drafting a point guard in the 2017 NBA Draft. Of course his passing ability is the most obvious hole in his game and becoming the Nets starting point guard of the future remains unlikely. But it doesn’t hurt for the Nets to use it to fuel his success.

The season is still young but it seems like the Nets have struck gold among the Knicks garbage.


The Afternoon Tip-Off: R Kelly Sings the National Anthem

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

Sorry for the delay today folks. Traffic was a b*#ch. Let’s get started:

1. Another win! Yesterday, I mentioned that the Nets might have a chance to steal one from the banged up Hawks and also wondered if this Nets team would struggle to close out tight games. Last night’s win, yes against a banged up Hawks team, was certainly promising for the Nets. The Hawks were trying to win that game, no doubt about it, and the fact that the Nets made big plays (like Lopez’ shot block) down the stretch was encouraging.

The Associated Press (via The New York Times) had the game recap:

After Young hit the winning free throws, he knocked away Sefolosha’s inbounds pass to Horford as time expired.

‘We initially said that coming out of the timeout we were going to switch everything,’ Young said. ‘Switch everything. Switch everything. We knew if Kyle Korver couldn’t get in there they would try and lob it in to Horford and let him make a play.’

Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez combined for a pair of great defensive plays (and great all-around defense for the Nets on the last second inbound play, the Hawks options were limited) to seal this one. As Drew Schulte pointed out in his Brooklyn’s Finest recap today, the fourth quarter was sloppy, and the atmosphere was bleak.

Not even R Kelly could liven this thin crowd…

Read More


Recap: Nets 90, Hawks 88 - Nets Win, No One Watches

After losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday despite leading for most of the game, the Brooklyn Nets found themselves in another close one Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. This time, through solid point guard play and clutch late game defense, the Nets beat the Hawks 90-88 at home for their second win of the season.

The game started off sloppy. The Nets and the Hawks were both out of sync on offense, turning the ball over in bunches. The whole first quarter was back-and-forth ugly basketball. The Nets were up by 4 with two minutes left in the quarter when they their offense fell apart, resulting in the following possessions:

Wayne Ellington missed 22-foot jumper

Thomas Robinson turnover (Shelvin Mack steals)

Bojan Bogdanovic stepped out of bounds

Jarrett Jack bad pass (Shelvin Mack steals)

Jarrett Jack missed 6-foot shot

The first quarter ended with the Hawks leading 19-17.

Read More


The Morning Tip-Off: Jarrett Jack is Healthy

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. Tim Bontemps of The New York Post spoke with Jarrett Jack after his two best performances of the season (21 and 12 Friday night against the Kings and 28 and 9 in the loss to the Warriors):

That’s because Jack said after Saturday’s loss at Golden State that he’s feeling healthy for the first time all season after playing through a bone bruise on his left knee, multiple tweaks of his left hamstring and a back issue.

‘To be honest, I’m just now fully getting healthy,’ he said. ‘That’s neither here nor there. There’s no excuses. … Once you step between those lines, nobody wants to hear that, and neither do I, so I’m just coming out and trying to be healthy and do my best to lead this ball club.’

As Bontemps points out, Jack missed the Nets’ season opener against the Chicago Bulls due to the hamstring issue, which led to a long stretch in the fourth quarter with Markel Brown playing point guard. Jack has been much more productive in the last two games obviously, so of course his confidence is high.

If the inspired play is truly due to a new-found health, then there is some hope for the Nets moving forward. They will need that type of production consistently out of Jack to be competitive on a night to night basis in the NBA.

Read More


Three Lessons: Nets Find Inventive Ways To Lose in Golden State

There is a phrase that applies here that is the norm for NBA teams…

Good teams find a way to win basketball games.

Bad teams find a way to lose basketball games.

Then we have the Brooklyn Nets. They find ways to lose games that is funnier than Def Comedy Jam. I mean it’s so comical, it had me on the floor laughing.

The Brooklyn Nets, under normal NBA circumstances, were primed and ready to upset the NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors on their home floor, which easily would have been the biggest upset of the year.

(Well, that is until Ronda Rousey lost her bout Saturday night…)

Despite the Warriors playing without Splash Brother, Klay Thompson. Despite Stephen Curry having an off night (FOR HIM, PEOPLE!). Despite Thaddeus Young and Jarrett Jack having good games…

The Brooklyn Nets lost in overtime, 107-99.

For the total recap, please check out Sam Yip’s breakdown on Brooklyn’s Finest. As always it is an informative read. Believe it or not, I knew that this game was not going to be a blowout. I have no idea why and I would totally understand if you thought I was lying through my teeth. I thought the Nets would lose by about 15 but would keep it close. I just didn’t think it would be as close as it got.

This team has serious issues in the last minutes of games. Let’s jump to the last 40 seconds of regulation, for our three takeaways from Saturday’s loss in Golden State.

1.)  Jarrett Jack can’t let the ball go in eight seconds to cross half court to beat the count.

Read More


Three Lessons Learned: Up Jumps The Boogie In Sac-Town

There will be no two-game winning streak in Brooklyn, as of yet. The Brooklyn Nets squandered a 15-point lead and their highest point total of the season, after losing 111-109 on Friday night. DeMarcus Cousins decided to play in the second half after a 1/10 start in the first. He finished the game with a game-high 40 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. Rajon Rondo played a masterful game in collecting yet another triple-double, as the Sacramento Kings played without Rudy Gay and Darren Collison. Jarrett Jack finished with 21 points and 12 assists. Thaddeus Young finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. For a complete recap of the game please check out Tim Oakes’s piece on Brooklyn’s Finest. As always, it is an informative read.

Here’s the three lessons learned from the game…

1.) The Brooklyn Nets are at a serious crossroads with how this offense will be run going forward.

Read More


Recap: Nets 99, Warriors 107 - Valiant Effort Comes Up Short Again

The game itself was much closer than the score would appear. Vegas had the Nets as 16-point underdogs after Klay Thompson was ruled out. Nobody would have expected the Nets could go into overtime with the unbeaten defending champions.

Coming into this contest, reigning MVP Steph Curry had hit more threes (52) than the Nets as a team combined (41). The Warriors lead the league in treys with a plus-56 made (168 points), while the Nets were second to last at a minus-32 conversion rate (96 points). Literally two teams on the opposite spectrum of offensive efficiency had the writing on the wall to be one of the most lopsided games in our young season. But like this year’s NBA campaign goes, “This is why we play.”

Read More


Recap: Nets 109, Kings 111 - Cousins and Rondo too much for Brooklyn

Coming off their impressive first win of the season against the Houston Rockets, the Brooklyn Nets failed to keep the ball rolling in Sacramento in a 111-109 loss to the Kings.

Sacramento was led by DeMarcus Cousins, who exploded for a season high 40-point performance, and Rajon Rondo, who collected another triple-double with 23 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds. No other Kings starter had over five points.

But it was a tale of two halves for Cousins who really struggled to find a rhythm in the first half, as he connected on just one of his ten field goal attempts.

Boogie would quickly put the first half behind him as he hit 12 or his 17 second-half attempts which included an unconscious third quarter where he put up 21 points. The big man also collected 13 rebounds to go along with two three-pointers.

Rondo continued tonight what has been a resurgent season as his triple double against Brooklyn was his third on the season.

The crafty point guard has been on the floor for 184 of the 192 minutes that made up the Kings last four games. He continued his hot play and his streak of 12 assists in each of those last four games.

Despite allowing two of the craziest stat lines in the NBA this season, Brooklyn still managed to stay in the game until the final play.

Read More


Michael Wright, Former NBA Pick, Found Dead In Brooklyn

We have a tragedy to report here at Brooklyn’s Finest. Michael Wright, who played for the Arizona Wildcats from 1998-2001 and was part of the 2001 team that made it to the NCAA Finals, was found dead. He was only 35 years old.

Michael Wright, who was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2001, was found dead in Brooklyn, New York in a SUV under a pile of trash bags, officials say. Details are extremely sketchy at this point, as it was first reported that Michael Wright took his own life and now it is being investigated as a homicide.

Wright was reported missing on Sunday by his roommates in New Jersey. Officials found the SUV on Tuesday and report that the SUV had been sitting on the street since Sunday.

Even though Michael Wright never made it to the NBA after being cut by the Knicks, he did enjoy an extensive career overseas, playing professionally in Poland, Turkey, and France.

Family members say that Wright was planning to go back to Europe and play basketball in the future and wasn’t planning on retirement.

Michael Wright began his rise to basketball fame playing at Farragut Academy in Chicago. That just happens to be the same school former Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Garnett played as well. The two were teammates his freshman year. It was considered one of the greatest Chicago teams in history with four All-Americans on the team. After Garnett left, Wright replaced him at center.

In Arizona, Michael Wright enjoyed success as a power forward.

On behalf of Brooklyn’s Finest, I would like to extend prayers and well wishes to the family of Michael Wright. Hopefully the readers of Brooklyn’s Finest will do the same.

If anyone knows anything that will help officials catch the culprit, please come forward with information. Let’s forego the “Stop Snitching” moniker and help the family gain closure in this needless tragedy.

R.I.P. Michael Wright.