Sports

NBA Analysis: Lessons Learned from Nets vs. Pacers

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By Cory Bernstein

To say the Nets played bad would be an understatement. The Nets opened up their final year in New Jersey with a flop, being completely and totally dominated by the Pacers. One of my favorite non-Nets in the league, Paul George, proved why he is a star in the making, dropping 21 points and going five for five from long range. This guy is an absolute monster, but the Nets could do a much better job than that. To put into perspective how bad the Nets were defensively, the Nets defensive efficiency last night hovered around 120.

The Nets have the worst defensive efficiency rating of any team this season, and that is 107.9. So pretty much, the Nets couldn't stop anybody on the Pacers last night. Although I like Damion James, I'm starting to think he is a serviceable backup, not a serviceable starter. I understand (and respect) Billy King's decision not to sign a true small forward this offseason, but our wing play has been abysmal so far this season on defense. MarShon Brooks has been a revelation, but besides him it has been a group of scrubs. Here are the ratings:

Deron Williams - 6.0 It's hard to give our leader/best player/point guard a good rating in a game where the Nets played so poorly, but that was not the fault of D-Will. He scored twenty two points, had eight assists, and two steals all after being injured in the second quarter after bumping into Psycho T. D-Will put it all on the floor last night, and he easily could've called it a day after his injury in a game where it was clear the Nets couldn't win. His field goal percentage will go up through time, and I give Deron a lot of respect for playing through what looked like a pretty bad injury (he struggled putting his shirt on after the game) and not having a bad game by any means.

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Sundiata Gaines - 4.0 It's not Gaines’ fault that he is starting, but it's getting ridiculous that MarShon Brooks isn't in the starting lineup. He is undersized at this weird 1.5 guard he's playing, and is a huge liability defensively on a team of…well…defensive liabilities. I'd like to see him play 15 or so minutes a game, like he did last night, but off the bench as opposed to starting.

Damion James - 3.5 James was dominated by Danny Granger or George depending on who he was guarding, and as usual was not that effective on offense. He scored ten points, but had a high usage rate and went 0-3 on midrange jumpers. Damion has to step up sooner than later.

Shelden Williams - 4.0 Shelden replaced Kris Humphries, who didn't play yesterday with a sore left shoulder. He was awful on offense, getting blocked twice and went one for nine from the field. He's better than Johan Petro in a spot start, but Hump is needed if the Nets want to win.

Mehmet Okur - 5.0 Memo did make two of three 3’s, but was just okay grabbing boards (getting only six in twenty eight minutes). He also only scored eight points, taking zero at the rim, which is embarrassing for a seven footer like himself. I know he likes shooting threes and is not a "banger", but he needs to solidify his low post presence to become more effective offensively.

MarShon Brooks - 8.5 I love MarShon. After six games, it's clear that MarShon is going to be a very good scorer for years to come in the NBA, and he was a bright spot in a cloud of darkness last night. He scored twenty one points again, and chimed in for seven rebounds and two steals as well. For all the talk of Brooks being a lot of scoring and nothing else, he came out last night and led all players in rebounding. He was the Nets player of the game by a landslide. Even if the Nets do suck this year, watching a young star in the making will be something to cheer for. Avery needs to come to his senses and begin starting MarShon as soon as possible.

Shawne Williams - 4.5 In a larger role due to Hump's injury, Williams played okay, shooting four corner threes as he did on the Knicks, except he went a very poor 1 of 4 from downtown. He was okay on defense, but seems to have lost a step in general form last season on the Knicks.

Johan Petro - 2.0 I would rather go small ball with Shawne Williams at the five than see him in the game. I don't care that Humphries was out and only two true big men were available besides Johan, he’s got very little to showcase and should stay benched for more than a while.

Anthony Morrow - 2.5 I want to like Anthony Morrow again. But he continues to have games like last night, where he goes one for eight from the field and makes no threes. He played a little better on defense, which is the equivalent of saying Rex Ryan lost a little weight and then learning he lost five pounds. Morrow still is horrible on defense, and Rex Ryan still weighs more than your average elephant.

DeShawn Stevenson - 4.0 He has done hardly anything this season for me to have any opinion on him, as he has been as average as average could be. However, Stevenson literally did nothing in ten minutes on the floor last night, having no points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks and one foul. Didn't he start in the finals last year?

Next up, Boston! (Anyone remember the “revelation guy”? Let’s give him a reason to do that again)

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