by BrooklynFans.com executive producer Pete Tenney (@PeteTenney)
GET BROOK LOPEZ INTO HIS BIG-BOY PANTS EACH QUARTER
Avery Johnson would still be here if he had figured out how to get four first quarters out of Lopez each night. But something changed when Brook took the bench for a breather — he often returned and got lost in the vaunted “float around and kick out to Wallace for desperation 3″ offense as the game progressed.
Make it a point to get Lopez the ball down low to begin each of his shifts, and the Nets will win more ugly games, and they may see some pretty finishes too. PJ certainly will see a prettier finish to his time in Brooklyn.
SCRAP THE POINT CENTER CRAP
But that’s not a matchup headache. He’s a matchup headache when he’s dwarfing defenders down low, and using that same size and athleticism to get high-percentage looks, offensive rebounds, double teams, and free throws.
When he must handle the rock (after a rebound or turnover, or when the play breaks down) … he’s surprisingly good at it. But when it’s encouraged for him to handle, his advantage vaporizes and the smaller defender gains the upper hand.
Blatche is good for 2-3 turnovers per game, and they always are more costly than it seems. They usually happen when the Nets are ahead and ‘Dray is playing loosey goosey … the behind-the-back dribble gets stolen and the other team scores. These are more costly than say a Deron Williams turnover, because there was never an opportunity to get an assist or a better shot on the possession. Careless individual play is a massive momentum killer in a team game.
WORK WITH DERON WILLIAMS … TO RE-INVENT DERON WILLIAMS
With scoring talent all around him, this might just be the year D-Will must aim for 15+ assists every time out, and forget entirely about his points total. Points will come when he’s back on his game. But “shooting his way out” of this slump is a losing formula.
With these underachieving Nets, examine every close loss and embarrassing collapse this season … you’ll see a key moment where their quarterback decided to call his own number, clanked a jumper, and it went back the other way for a huge swing against Brooklyn. Opponents salivate for the moment Deron shoots, misses, and starts a team sulk.
It’s time for Deron to scare the other team for a while. Go to the basket. Hit Brook with that nasty pass only Williams can bounce perfectly. Pick and roll up some wins … that’ll give D-Will confidence. He’s had his all stars and gold medals, now collect selfless wins.
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