There are many different holidays to celebrate this time of year. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are just a few, but one that has always interested me was Festivus.
The holiday that famously scarred George Costanza on Seinfeld has taken on a life of its own since the show debuted the idea in the late 90’s. Instead of dealing with the commercialism that goes with the holiday season, Festivus is celebrated by gathering your loved ones a meal to air your grievances and tell everyone exactly how they have disappointed you this year. If I was celebrating this year, my Festivus would almost solely focus on the Brooklyn Nets.
Coming off of back to back blowout losses, there needs to be a meeting of the minds in Brooklyn. The season is far from over and there are deep rooted issues that need to be addressed if Kenny Atkinson wants this Nets team to develop properly. The fans are becoming increasingly unhappy with the lack of results, especially now that Jeremy Lin is back from injuries. Even as someone that knew this season was going to be a wash and about player development, the games are getting hard to watch. What would be best for me, and Nets fans, is to have an airing of grievances so we can move on with the rest of the season in peace.
Kenny Atkinson needs to start playing to the strengths of his players
When Atkinson arrived in Brooklyn, everyone knew there would be a gigantic change in the way things were run on offense. His plan to install a motion offense on a team that featured Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, and not much else was going to be an uphill battle. Two months into the season and it is abundantly clear that he is committed to his motion offense despite not having the personnel to run it.
This is a team that thrives when running the pick and roll. There aren’t many tandems better than Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin when it comes to pick and roll plays. Brook is the last true back to the basket big and Jeremy is a dynamic passer and scorer when utilizing picks.
Neither of them thrive behind the arc, despite Brook’s recent success, and there are not a lot of shooters on the team. This is not the roster of a motion offense, so why keep forcing the round block into the square hole? I’m not saying abandon it, because there are aspect of it that are very positive, but maybe it is time to lighten up a little bit on it. Some of the games are very winnable, but then the other team goes on a run and before long the rest is history.
Fix the problems on defense, ASAP
The defense is abysmal. In 29 games played, the Nets have given up over 100 points in almost every game. They have allowed over 110 points 24 times and over 120 points on nine separate occasions already. The past two losses, they allowed 236 points. That is almost a three pointer every minute (roughly 2.56 points if you do the math). This is a problem that goes much deeper than any one player, it is everything. It is all the players, it is the entire system, every aspect of the defense needs to be reworked.
Trying to create a defense out of nothing this far into the season is going to be impossible, but every player is going to need to examine how they play defense and fix it. They are in the bottom third of the league in almost every defensive statistic and the numbers are alarming. They allow over 50 percent of all two pointers taken, allow the 29th most offensive rebounds, and are not getting many blocks or steals.
Stop falling apart in the third quarter
Outside of my Minnesota Timberwolves, I have never seen a team fall apart so quickly and violently as the Nets do in the third quarter. The perfect example came against Golden State on Thursday. After being up by 16 points at the half, the Nets collapsed and the Warriors were leading with five minutes to go in the quarter. A combination of the Warriors clamping down on defense and finally hitting shots on offense ensured the lead dissipated in a hurry.
Sure, this is against the team that will most likely win it all this year, and the Nets won’t have to compete with this much firepower every night, but the collapse was meteoric. Golden State was not hitting a lot of shots in the first half, but once they found their footing and made halftime adjustments, they came out blazing and the Nets did little to nothing to try to throw them off their game.
Brook: Get your act together and start rebounding for once
Every single time I check the box score and see Brook Lopez’s extremely low rebound count, a little bit of my soul withers away. He is seven feet tall and has the perfect body to dominate players in the post and on the boards. His twin brother, Robin, is so scrappy that he got ejected last night for throwing double-elbows while fighting for a rebound. Where is this with Brook?
I almost don’t know why I am writing this, because he won’t ever change and magically become a rebounder. I’ll probably be writing it again next Festivus, but Brook and his rebounding have been a huge disappointment. This team is in desperate need of talent and rebounding. Brook has the tools to be an excellent rebounder and the talent to be a real difference maker. He does a lot of stuff well, and he can contribute in a major way to winning teams, but the mystery of Brook’s rebounding is going to be up there with where is Jimmy Hoffa.