The Brooklyn Nets were looking to ride the momentum of their first win in months into Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz but ended up falling short 97-112.
It is no secret that Brooklyn has been one of the worst teams in the NBA the season while Utah has been one of the pleasant surprises out of the West this year. Behind the core of Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert, and George Hill the Jazz were able to stave off any hopes of a Nets two game win streak. Key players like Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez had lackluster games which did not help the rest of the cause.
The third quarter buried Brooklyn, as it usually does, but the biggest observations to take away from this game were the fact that Brooklyn played to Utah’s pace and paid the price, Randy Foye should not be a starter anymore, and Quincy Acy needs a larger role.
Brooklyn Played Slow, Paid The Price
The Utah Jazz are not a team that like to run in the fast break, they prefer to slow things down with their defense and grind things out in the half court. Brooklyn, on the other hand, is the opposite. They are only really effective when they are running the floor or running through their motion sets. Last night the Jazz did an excellent job of slowing the pace down, defending both on the perimeter and at the rim, and it eventually led to a victory.
Brooklyn only had six fast break points, 12 assists, shot 40 percent from the floor and 24 percent from deep. Everything the Jazz wanted to stop on defense was stopped and they did an excellent job of removing Brook-Lin from the Nets game plan. Gobert was able to slow Lopez down inside while also keeping him in check from the perimeter and Hill put Lin in early foul trouble.
Most of the scoring came off the bench, 56 points, while everyone in the starting unit beside Lopez was held below eight points. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had five points in 17 minutes, Caris LeVert had four points in 20 minutes, and Foye finished with eight. If Kenny Atkinson wants to avoid demoralizing the entire team and the fan base for the remainder of the season, he should seriously consider making some changes to the starting lineup.
Randy Foye Should Not Be In The Starting Lineup Anymore
When Jeremy Lin was out with a hamstring injury, Randy Foye being in the starting lineup made sense. Your only other guard option was rookie Isaiah Whitehead or rookie Caris LeVert, the team needed more vets out there besides Lopez and Trevor Booker, and on occasion he could be serviceable. With the All-Star break well in everyone’s rearview, it is time to cut Foye’s minutes and distribute them amongst those that will benefit from them.
With Lin being back, you’d think that would eat into most of his minutes but instead Atkinson has been rolling with the lineup of Lin-Foye-LeVert-RHJ-Lopez. Foye should not be on this team after this season, so why not give his minutes to someone like Spencer Dinwiddie? Or cut the RHJ at power forward experiment short and bump Booker back into the starting lineup? Or roll with a Lin-Whitehead lineup because both guards can exist off ball?
The possibilities aren’t endless, but there are better option than rolling with this because you want Foye there as Lin’s/the offense’s training wheels. This season’s end result has long since been decided, its time to try something else. The losses are going to be there anyways if you keep him in the starting lineup, so why not just embrace it and use it as a time to fine tune who will be around next season or let the young players play.
Quincy Acy Needs A Larger Roll
How Quincy Acy isn’t averaging 20-25 minutes on this team is baffling to me. He was a legitimate NBA role player for several years and was about to have a giant season in Dallas until their roster fell apart and they needed a point guard. He was sent to the D-League with the understanding that once Dallas’ point guard situation was more solid, he’d get the call back up. He dominated in the D-League, found confidence in his shot from deep, and was signed by Brooklyn before Dallas had a chance to scoop him back up.
Since then, he has been a bright spot for this team every time he touches the floor. After signing a long-term contract following his two 10-days, he suffered an ankle injury but now he is fighting fit and deserving of a real role. Last night only solidified that.
He finished with 18 points in 18 minutes, shot five of seven overall and two of three from deep, and added two rebounds and one steal. Despite the low numbers last night, he is one of the best rebounders on the roster and plays the game with a passion that is second to none on this roster. Every time he steps on the floor he brings a tenacious but calm aura with him. He has the composure of a veteran, is a solid citizen, and does three things extremely well that this team needs badly; he defends, he can shoot, and he can rebound. He is more than deserving and will hopefully be in Brooklyn for a long time.