As the new-look Nets embark on the season, beat writer Rod Boone breaks down seven key areas of their game.
After having only two true playmakers a season ago in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, the Nets don't have any shortage of them now. Joining those two are Paul Pierce, and off the bench, they have Shaun Livingston and Andrei Kirilenko, who can create off the dribble and cause problems for the defense. So new coach Jason Kidd has a lot of options at his disposal. |
A top-10 rebounding team in 2012-13, the Nets enjoyed a plus-3.6 differential and that number probably will increase now that they have Kevin Garnett to help wipe the glass. Paul Pierce, who averaged 6.3 rebounds last season in Boston, should also boost their rebound numbers. Brook Lopez still has to make more of a concerted effort to improve on his showing of 6.9 per game a season ago. And Reggie Evans? Well, he is a master at vacuuming rebounds. |
Ball movement is in and isolation ball is out. Coach Jason Kidd has stressed making the extra pass and taking pleasure in making an assist as much as canning a shot. The unselfish approach worked well during the preseason, when very few shots were forced. With all their options, it's going to be difficult to focus on stopping anyone in particular, so the Nets should flourish in half-court sets. |
The presence of Kevin Garnett should help immensely, with the veteran already instilling a gritty mind-set. The Nets have become more vocal on that side of the ball, calling things out that they didn't do a season ago. Assistant coach Lawrence Frank has an intricate scheme that he's employed and the Nets — who want to be a top-five defensive team — know they’re only going to go as far as their defense will take them. |
This might be one of the areas in which the Nets won’t be all that strong, at least when they have their starting five on the floor. Although Joe Johnson can push the ball, Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnettaren’t exactly the fleetest of foot and adept at getting back quickly in transition. Their second unit probably will be more equipped to get fast-break points with Livingston running the show. |
Without question, this is one of the team's strengths and it's going to give the Nets the ability to rest people and possibly still sustain success. Even if one of the key contributors isn't playing, they'll have the ability to plug someone else they believe can adequately fill that void. That quality depth coupled with the versatility of some of their top playmakers means they have interchangeable pieces, potentially creating matchup problems. |
One of the reasons the Nets went belly up at home in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series against the Bulls was because they didn't have any take-charge kind of guys. Deron Williams, admittedly, isn’t much of a vocal leader and likes to do it more by example. So by bringing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and even Jason Terry in, the Nets have added players with championship experience, making it easier for players to fall in line. |