Nets Still Have A Lot Of Work To Do

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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Who’s the only undefeated NBA team in 2013?

It’s the Brooklyn Nets, who are 4-0 in January and 6-1 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.

As it looks more and more like the Nets won’t be hiring a new coach any time soon, it’s looking more and more like Carlesimo deserves an extended stay on the bench anyway.

Five of the Nets’ six wins have come against teams — Charlotte, Cleveland, Washington, Sacramento and Philadelphia — with a combined record of 51-126. But their 17-point win in Oklahoma City pretty much legitimizes the run under Carlesimo.

The run has been mostly fueled by offense. The Nets have scored 109.5 points per 100 possessions under Carlesimo, the league’s second-best mark in the time he’s been coach.

Nets efficiency, 2012-13

Coach W L Pace Rank OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
Johnson 14 14 90.3 29 102.9 11 104.0 21 -1.1 16
Carlesimo 6 1 91.1 23 109.5 2 102.6 13 +6.9 5

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

There’s been a slight uptick in pace, a change that was needed and seems to be helping the offense. But it’s not like the Nets are flourishing on the break. They’re averaging 9.0 fast break points per game under Carlesimo after averaging 8.9 under Johnson.

They’ve had a bigger increase in second-chance points (14.1 to 15.9) because they’ve rebounded better. Increased minutes for Reggie Evans has played a part, but so has a more aggressive Brook Lopez. The center had an offensive rebounding percentage of 9.5 percent (2.4 offensive boards per game) under Johnson, but has pushed that up to 15.2 percent (3.3 offensive boards per game).

An additional offensive board per game isn’t a huge increase, but the little things can mean a lot, especially when they add up. In addition to rebounding better, the Nets are also getting to the rim a little more, getting to the line a little more and shooting a little better from the perimeter.

The improved shooting has come from the starting backcourt. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams have combined to take 2/3 of their shots from outside the paint this season. That’s not a good ratio, but both have improved dramatically from outside the paint under Carlesimo.

Joe Johnson shooting from outside the paint

Coach FGM FGA FG% %FGA EFG%
Johnson 109 286 38.1% 67.6% 47.9%
Carlesimo 32 73 43.8% 73.7% 54.8%

EFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA

Deron Williams shooting from outside the paint

Coach FGM FGA FG% %FGA EFG%
Johnson 80 252 31.7% 66.8% 40.5%
Carlesimo 25 59 42.4% 64.8% 54.2%

Williams’ career effective field goal percentage from outside the paint (47.4 percent) is right in the middle of the two marks above. So an improvement had to come at some point. Johnson’s career mark (46.8 percent) is much more in line with what he was shooting under Avery Johnson.

The good news is that the Nets are actually playing well with Williams on the floor. When they were 14-14, he was a minus-37 and they were much better defensively when he was on the bench. Under Carlesimo, the Nets are a plus-55 with Williams on the floor and are actually better defensively with him on the floor.

And here’s the issue with the Nets’ defensive improvement. They have rebounded a little better under Carlesimo and they’ve forced an extra 0.4 turnovers per 100 possessions. But they’ve also allowed their opponents to shoot better and get to the line more.

So how are they allowing 1.4 fewer points per 100 possessions? Well, their opponents are shooting just 68 percent from the free throw line against the Nets under Carlesimo after shooting 75 percent (the league average) against the Johnson-coached Nets.

Another concern from the Nets is the increased turnovers they’re committing. They’ve committed 16.4 under Carlesimo, the fourth-highest rate in the league in the two weeks he’s been coached.

Things are going well right now and with all the offensive talent the Nets have, they should be a top-five team on that end. But some of the ways the Nets are improving aren’t so sustainable, and more answers must be found on both ends of the floor.

12 Comments

  1. PacerNation#1 says:

    and if you want some proof besides the 32-12 FT’s against the pacers check other games for your self. Stats dont lie…

  2. PacerNation#1 says:

    Nets have had a lot of help from the officals, its very tough to play 8 on 5 ball! FIX FIX FIX to hype a “new” team to the league.. Theyll choke off trust me!

  3. kory says:

    I feel bad for Gerald Wallace, they don’t use him at all.

  4. big cat says:

    the raptors will finish ahead of the nets at the end of the year, jose calderon most underrated player in the league , and trade andrea bargnani for demarcus cousins or pau gasol

  5. BKALLDAY says:

    All this guy does is talk about stats, but what about the rotation. PJC put Marshon Brooks and Teletovic in the rotation while Avery didn’t have them in at all.

  6. TJ says:

    the raptors are still in the NBA..?

  7. Bob says:

    John Schuhmann is the “Billy Bean of Basketball Journalism.” Numbers don’t lie, but numbers have different meanings in basketball. If a starting center is hurt, Lopez will get more attempts in the block. If someone is hot, they will get more attempts, and so on. There isn’t a stat for how smart a team is playing and how well a rotation plays (numbers will be different on West Coast road trip than a 7 game home stand)
    The Nets have a lot of the pieces, they have to buy in to their system and be able to adapt quickly. That is their major problem. Remember when Jeremy Lin torche D Will? D Will came back and dropped 50 the next time they played. They need to get together and say, “Tonight, we are going to kick their a**, and nothing is going to stop us.” They lack motivation and look uncertain about what they want to accomplish. The Nets have great talent, they need a great leader with a dominant attitude, I want to win all the time, Michael Jordan-style

  8. Guff says:

    Why don’t you guys ever cover the raptors? They’ve basically pulled a 180 on their season and are playing some great team basketball. They’ve won 10 of their last 13 games after going 4-20 to start the season. I didn’t even see a feel good story during their 7 game win streak.