Were it not for the troubling behavior that plagued the Barclays Center earlier this season — not to mention the months of dysfunction, trade calls and chaos that preceded it — these Brooklyn Nets would be revered. On paper, Brooklyn could have the largest collection of shooters ever assembled. In reality, that’s exactly what it was.
The Nets are the hottest team in the NBA. They have lost a game in the last four weeks and became a blowtorch in December, with an NBA-best offensive rating of 120.5. But even that doesn’t quite describe how impressive her season has become. This team is historically great at one thing that every team wishes they could be historically great at; the best possible version of what the front office conceived during an off-season that has otherwise sapped so much optimism of what was possible.
Brooklyn currently ranks first all the time in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, second in 2-point field goal percentage, and 18th in 3-point percentage. We’re not even on the All-Star break yet, sure. But Brooklyn’s current field goal percentage is slightly higher than that of the 2018 Warriors — who once had the highest field goal percentage of all time —were at the 40 game mark.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are peerless, indomitable shooters who regularly pull off imaginative shots that most NBA players can’t even dream of. Durant—who left Sunday night’s game early with a knee injury and will receive an MRI on Monday– is currently enjoying the most efficient season of his Hall of Fame career and is averaging 30 points per game, while Irving has crossed the sacred 50/40/90 mark since returning from his eight-game suspension in late November.
But Brooklyn’s shooting success extends far beyond Irving and Durant. Seth Curry and Joe Harris are the third and fourth most accurate 3-point shooters in NBA history (at least 1,000 attempts). Yuta Watanabe is behind the curve at 52.7 percent. Royce O’Neale and TJ Warren can’t be ignored 25 feet from the basket. Patty Mills isn’t even on the rotation but is a career 39 percent 3 point shooter.
Also in the suit, Brooklyn has Nic Claxton, who leads the league in field goal percentage and does a great job capitalizing on all the attention everyone else is demanding. Ben Simmons is predictably reluctant to shoot when the seas don’t part, but he deserves plenty of credit for accelerating the pace of this team and the dimming of the aforementioned weapons in transition.
All in all, head coach Jacque Vaughn’s simplified offensive system has become a nirvana of gravity and space that induces complete and utter panic in the opponent. There are several reasons to believe this group can win the title – theirs Top 5 Defense since Nov. 1 shouldn’t be overlooked — but Brooklyn’s ability to absolutely drown opponents with sensational, sustained outside shots is why nobody wants to see them in the playoffs.
It sounds shorthand to explain the turnaround from a 2-6 start this way, but sometimes basketball is a simple game; When a team takes a lot of shots, regardless of their difficulty or where they are shot on the ground, wounds heal, mistakes are glossed over, and many games are won.
The Nets have one of the best offenses in the league, despite ranking 27th in offensive rebound rate and 26th in free throw rate. Instead, they triumph with jumpers drawn from spots on the pitch that most leagues purposely avoid.
the nets Rank 29 in effective field goal percentage, meaning Daryl Morey needs an EpiPen when looking at her shot profile. Despite a plethora of field goal attempts that don’t typically result in an efficient offense, Brooklyn ranks first in Quantified Shooter Impact (qSI) by a mile, with an effective field goal percentage of 7, 8 percent above what teams with average shooters would achieve from the same shots their players make. The difference between the Nets and the runner-up Nuggets is as big as the difference between the Nuggets and the Pelicans in 18th place.
Only two teams average more midrange attempts per game than the Nets, and neither comes close to Brooklyn’s 51.2 percent accuracy. A lot of that is down to Durant shooting and having an incredible 57.1 percent from midfield made more shots from this zone than 13 teams this season.
Since at least the 1996-97 season, there hasn’t been a player who jacked at least 300 2-point jump shots 10 feet or more from the basket more accurate than Durant is now. And the Nets are also the first team ever in the Second Spectrum database to average more than .97 points per middle-distance shot. You are currently on 1.09.
All those looks that pour in so often is why the clouds parted at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue. The webs are full of mid-range conservationists (Durant, Irving, Warren, Curry, etc.) but are being trained by a strategist who doesn’t ignore the merits of distance. Yes they are 24th in the 3 point rate and 25th in catch and shoot 3s per game. But she too Second in 3 point accuracy while using lineups that evoke so many pick-your-gift puzzles.
With a crazy roster started eight different lineups, Vaughn had to tinker and experiment with various five-man combinations. When everyone is together, he could stay big and long on the wings without sacrificing any of what makes the Nets’ offense so deadly.
And even when they have two non-shooters on the floor at the same time, Brooklyn’s star power can take on one-for-one, drawing double teams, making easy reads, and sparking open looks. They also still destroy balls in isolation. No team is more efficient at these games, and only four isolate more often. Durant is immortal here. Irving lives on an astral plane.
Brooklyn’s regular starting five — Durant, Irving, O’Neale, Claxton and Simmons — has so far acted as a top 10 offense. And since Kyrie returned from his suspension, lineups have exploded with Simmons and Claxton. Posting an offensive rating of 121.6 in 258 minutes.
Some of this is because they don’t overly rely on pick and rolls. Not only do the Nets finish last in ballscreens per game, but Luka Doncic himself initiates more than Brooklyn’s entire team (51 to 49). Why go this route when so many other options are available, both random and scripted?
They really could be the Nets’ starting point guard, and it wouldn’t hurt their ability to knock KD off a pindown whenever they wanted to. The action is basketball’s version of sliced bread. Reliable. Generally appreciated. Perfect. It’s also unstoppable. No player generates more than Durant’s 1.51 points per possession when a downscreen results in a shot:
Vaughn also did a good job using everyone’s strengths in the same set. There are multiple layers in the game below that make it so hard to stop, even for one of the strongest defenses in the league:
It starts with a bone-jarring screen from Simmons on Cleveland’s Lamar Stevens, forcing Jarrett Allen to jump off Claxton and switch to Durant. Allen is capable, but a red light will flash whenever a Center finds themselves on an island against KD. It was bait, however. With all the other Cavaliers focusing their attention on the ball, Irving dashes up and around a roadblock set up by Simmons and Claxton that Darius Garland has no chance of dodging.
Irving and Durant are Skeleton Keys that can single-handedly wipe out base defenses in the simplest of ways. You pull two defenders, you go off the ball and good things happen. Especially with Durant, help sometimes comes out of sheer desperation. It’s an emergency option before any danger even occurs (Related: Brooklyn owns the NBAs second best crunch time offense and is an absurd 16-3 in these competitions):
When teams avoid switching and need to double down on the ball, Claxton knows how to play against a four-for-three advantage. That’s another reason why he and Simmons, two non-shooters, are able to coexist as well as ever.
The Nets’ shots are no accident. This team is packed with some of the most accurate and reliable marksmen basketball has ever seen. And even if one or two of their best shooters fall into a slump, the level of respect they enjoy in the league means it doesn’t take a toll on Brooklyn’s appeal. Curry or Harris could miss 20 straight 3s and their defender still wouldn’t let them drift in the weakside corner.
This type of threat makes these networks a juggernaut. A balanced, harmonious team that is simultaneously antiquated and perfect for the modern game. They share the ball because they trust that pretty much every shot is good. And so far, no defenses have found a way to slow them down. Possibly because no solutions exist.
#Nets #greatest #shooting #team #time