The Toronto Raptors put the Nets in their place. Their lacklustre performances against one of the Eastern Conference juggernauts showed how much work the team has to do to even think about competing on such a level. Brooklyn’s first half wasn’t terrible by any means. They held a 3-point lead going into the 2nd half, it was what followed that was of most concern. Toronto outscored the Nets’ 32 points in the 3rd quarter alone (35). It is still preseason but the Nets will be hoping for a much better showing against the Knicks to take some much needed momentum into their opening game against the Pistons on Wednesday. Here’s a few things to look for in the team’s final preseason matchup.
No Kanter, No Worries?
Enes Kanter had his way with the Nets frontcourt in the team’s previous preseason matchup. He was a monster on the glass racking up 20 rebounds to go with his 22 points. With the Knicks resting the big man it should allow Jarrett Allen a more comfortable night as rookie Mitchell Robinson takes Kanter’s spot in the starting lineup. That’s not to say everything will come easy for the Nets bigs, or guards for that matter.
MITCHELL ROBINSON AHHHHH pic.twitter.com/I332YKjHng
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) October 4, 2018
Mitchell Robinson is incredibly gifted and athletic and will be looking to put in a good showing to impress the new Knicks coach, David Fizdale. Fizdale himself is excited for what the opportunity holds for the rookie center.
“I think this will be good for him. A fast-paced team. He got hurt early in that game. So we’ll see how he looks.”
Jarrett Allen has probably been Brooklyn’s most impressive performer across the entire preseason. Despite being outshined by Kanter in their previous matchup he was still more than serviceable.
— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) October 4, 2018
The ‘Fro will be looking to maintain his stunning preseason play with another big outing against the Nets’ crosstown rivals. This frontcourt matchup could be one we see for many years to come.
The Nets have had a combined 72 turnovers across their three preseason games (24 per game average). That is a lot. A whole lot. In fact it’s just .52 off the highest average, turnovers per game, for season, ever. Such an inflated number obviously won’t continue to be so high in the regular season. For one, Coach Atkinson won’t accept it, as he mentioned following the Pistons game.
“I don’t like the 18 turnovers—that was an issue last year. So, that’s got to improve.”
Caris LeVert has been the main culprit, accumulating 14 turnovers over the three games. For him to earn the trust of his teammates and the coaching staff he’s going to need to take care of the ball much better. More of this will endear himself even more to his coaches and everyone surrounding the team.
— NBA (@NBA) October 10, 2018
D’Lo hasn’t been horrible across the whole preseason but did give the ball up seven times against the Raptors. For a team without elite, superstar talent they need to do the fundamentals well. If the players continue to turn the ball over at such a high rate they likely will see less court time and the team as a whole won’t get close to sniffing any playoff action.
There have been plenty of great moments from LeVert and Russell so far this preseason. For them to have a chance at reaching their potential it’s about consistency and execution on both ends of the floor. Their talent can’t be denied, it’s the little things that need polishing. D’Angelo has even shown some nice energy on the defensive end.
— NBA (@NBA) October 9, 2018
Caris has continued to show his wonderful skills as a playmaker and increased his activity as a shotmaker. There’s no way he makes these sorts of plays last season.
Caris LeVert has been hitting tough shots all preseason. VanVleet couldn’t have played it better pic.twitter.com/XGXSuVP75g
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) October 11, 2018
The team’s other key guard, Spencer Dinwiddie has been up and down in his three performances. His role with the second unit will take some getting used to as he adjusts to the new players’ tendencies. He was solid against the Knicks the first time around and will be looking to recapture that form against them for a second time in the team’s final preseason outing.