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Brooklyn Nets plagued by poor shooting

As success from beyond the arc becomes increasingly important in today's NBA, the Nets can't seem to catch a break from three-point land.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

When stripping the game of basketball down to its bare bones, getting the ball into the basket is the most rudimentary factor for success.  Unfortunately for the Nets, they have struggled mightily with the most basic aspect of the game.

As Mike Mazzeo reports Saturday, "Since Nov. 12, only one team has been worse than the Brooklyn Nets at scoring on a points-per-100-possessions basis: the Philadelphia 76ers."

The Nets currently rank 21st in field goal percentage, standing at 44.4% and their three-point field goal percentage is equally disappointing at 33.8%, good for 20th in the NBA.  Last season, they ranked 11th in both point field goal and three-point percentage, boasting 45.9% and 36.9% clips respectively.  It's no coincidence that most of the teams ranked ahead of the Nets currently hold spots in the playoffs.

Somewhere along the line, something has gone askew for Brooklyn.  Though they have the tendency to revert back to their stagnant, isolation-based offense of seasons past, Brooklyn has provided themselves with plenty open shots.  It's not like they are consistently taking contested shots, the ball is simply not going through the basket.  The Nets have struggled especially from beyond the arc.  Though it may not seem like a lot, their three-point shooting percentage has fallen over 3% from last season and across the board, players are averaging career lows, or close to it, from deep.

One of the more underrated story lines for Brooklyn this year is Mirza Teletovic's inability to find his shooting stroke.  After an admittedly impressive 4-8 shooting performance from deep against Toronto on Wednesday, Teletovic raised his season three-point percentage to 34.8%.  That's still well below his 39% clip from last season and his 37.3% career percentage.  Prior to Wednesday's performance, Teletovic's percentage sat at a pedestrian 33.7%.  Escaping a lot of blame this year because of the shortcomings of other players higher on the pay scale, Teletovic needs to find his shooting stroke if the Nets hope to compete with the .500 and better teams they have struggled against this season.

Most of the roster has disappointed from beyond the arc as well.  After shooting 38.7% from deep last season for Fenerbahce Ulker in the Euroleague, Bojan Bogdanovic has started his NBA career shooting at a 33.7% clip.  What's worse is Bogdanovic looks incredibly uncomfortable on the court and seems reluctant to take a shot, as he slowly works his way out of Lionel Hollins' rotation.  Though not generally viewed as a deep threat, Jarrett Jack is making threes at an abysmal 14.3% rate, well below his career average of 35.2%.  Alan Anderson, more than capable of making a timely corner-three at a 34.4% career rate, is shooting only 33.3% from three-point land this season, and Sergey Karasev, though playing relatively well in starting minutes, is shooting only 31.6% from deep and 33.3% since becoming a starter.

Deron Williams is actually shooting 38.2% from beyond the arc, his highest percentage since he shot 39.5% during the 2007-08 season for Utah.  However, where Williams is succeeding where his teammates are not, he has been ineffective shooting inside the arc.  His 41.2% two-point field goal percentage is a career-low and is well below his career average of 48.9%.  Over the last ten games, Williams has shot a seemingly impossible 27.9% on his two-point attempts.

As mentioned before, Brooklyn is creating plenty for open shots, but the shots are simply not going in.  The ineptitude of their shooting on open shots, especially from distance, is puzzling considering the numerous talented shooters on the roster.  The only player who has really impressed is Joe Johnson, possessing a 39.2% clip from deep.  At this point, Brooklyn needs to keep chucking it up and hope some of these shots start falling through.  Maybe Anderson should take less three-point shots (he's averaging 2.2 attempts per game), but the rest of the players mentioned are accomplished sharp-shooters and need to start draining their attempts if the Nets have any playoff aspirations.