Mike Mazzeo looks at two challenges Coach Jason Kidd will face this season: creating a more consistent offense and managing the talent on the Nets bench.
Mazzeo points out that last year's offense, dominated by isolation plays, failed to take advantage of what should have been an advantage: Deron Williams ability to run the pick-and-roll. Although D-Will was probably the NBA's best pick-and-roll point guard in Utah, a stagnant offensive system put the Nets at the bottom of pick-and-roll performance last season. And as Mazzeo notes, teams in the NBA don't win unless they master the pick-and-roll.
"Nine of the 10 teams to make the Finals have featured the pick-and-roll (including passes) offense on at least 20 percent of their total plays. The only exception was the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009-10," writes Mazzeo. The Nets were dead last at 13.9. The Nets were also at the bottom in turnovers off the pick-and-roll.
Not only does the acquisition of Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko give Williams two efficient partners, Mazzeo notes that Paul Pierce was a very efficient pick-and-roll partner last season on the pick end.
The other issue the rookie coach will have to handle is bench minutes. With Pierce likely to get the starting nod over Andrei Kirilenko at SF, the bench will feature three players who averaged 10 or more points last year: AK-47, Andray Blatche and Jason Terry. How Kidd manages their minutes and the rest of rotation will be criticial, notes Mazzeo.
The big advantage, he writes is that so many of the Bench Mob have flexibility. Blatche can play either bis position; Shaun Livingston can play the point, letting D-Will play off-ball and take advantage of his shooting skills; Terry can space the floor at either guard position -- he played some point guard in Dallas before Kidd arrived. And although Mirza Teletovic appears to be outside the rotation, Mazzeo foresees him as "the type of guy that could provide instant offense and spacing if the team is in a rut offensively" or if injuries limit some of the bigs in front of him.
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