PG D’Angelo Russell 17.3 points 4.1 rebounds 5.4 assists
SG Spencer Dinwiddie 12.3 points 3.2 rebounds 6.3 assists
SF Allen Crabbe 11.9 points 4.2 rebounds 1.4 assists
PF Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 12.3 points 6.7 rebounds 2.3 assists
C Jarrett Allen 13.8 points 8.8 rebounds 1.1 assists
6 Caris Levert 12.4 points 4.2 rebounds 3.9 assists
7 Jeremy Lin 11.3 points 2.8 rebounds 4.0 assists
8 Joe Harris 10.7 points 3.1 rebounds 1.4 assists
9 Demarre Carroll 8.6 points 5.3 rebounds 1.4 assists
10 Isaiah Whitehead 3.4 points 1.8 rebounds 1.1 assists
Projected Point Total: 113.6
Who is their X-Factor?
Jarrett Allen was the surprise story of last season. Coming into the NBA as an unproven rookie, Allen was dubbed too skinny to make an impact right away. Allen overcame worries about his build and undefined offensive game to lead rookies in blocks (88) and produce a solid stat line of 10.6 points 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in a starting role. When asked by hordes of hopeful Nets fans to recruit Lebron, Spencer Dinwiddie hushed them by confirming there was no way Lebron would ditch his hometown to join a rebuilding Nets team. He also reassured them that Allen would soon be universally recognized as a top-5 center. Allen is already an elite rim protector.
Rim protectors are defined by their ability to contest shots in the rim while not fouling.‘The Fro’ was 6th in opponent field goal percentage, 57.6%, against shots taken less than 5 feet away from the basket. That’s about the same rim protection you get from Pau Gasol, Hassan Whiteside, and Serge Ibaka, for a fraction of the price. If Allen overcomes growing pains and garners touches in the paint, he can easily land in the top-5 conversation as rapid as next season.
Kenny Atkinson is a Wizard
With 3 true point guards in their rotation, Atkinson milks his player’s passing abilities to make the extra pass or feed the hot hand. While Atkinson is not a direct disciple of Gregg Popovich, he is basically a second cousin. He coached under Mike Budenholzer and has borrowed his free-flowing, spacing-based offense.
By building an offense that is built on a foundation of principles and not set plays, he lets every player exploit their strengths in differing varieties. For example, he allows Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to operate on the elbow or short corner as a point forward, which opens up shots on the perimeter. On another possession, he lets Spencer Dinwiddie slither around a ball-screen whilst having Joe Harris flaring for a shot on the wing if Dinwiddie stops in his tracks or corner if Dinwiddie drives further towards the basket. In total, Brooklyn was 6th in assist percentage at 61.9%.
By setting up their guards and forwards at different passing angles, Atkinson keeps the defense on their toes. His forwards can pass almost as well as his guards. His forwards dished out 12.0 assists while his guards dished out 16.1 assists. This is what made Paul Millsap and Demarre Carroll threats in Budenholzer’s offense.
They thrive when they get out and run in transition, not looking to amend their mistakes on the offensive end. They were 6th in pace, at 101.85, and just 24th in offensive rebound percentage.
At first look, the talent-laden Nets look like a franchise I play with in NBA 2k18. In this franchise, I immediately trade the best players to clear cap room, get my hands on any first-rounders in sight, and give minutes to long-time backups (Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, for example). Then I slide the three-point sliders all the way to the right and set the offensive scheme to emulate the 2004 Suns.
Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks are treating Brooklyn like their own 2k franchise. The Nets want their players to heave 3-point shots, even if there is a hand in their face. 43.6% of their field goal attempts were three-point shots, second in the NBA. As an assistant coach on Mike D’antoni’s Knicks team, Atkinson steals the book-and the cover-from the 2004 Suns’ 7-second offense. The Nets employ various sets which makes them a potentially exhilarating team. With greater talent, Atkinson will reap the benefits and be in the same conversation as Brad Stevens and Gregg Popovich for best coach in due time. Even if that means running the franchise with an Xbox controller.