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How’s the Nets’ motion offense working? Not bad

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NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As part of his “One team, three stats” series, John Schuhmann takes a deep dive into the Nets in their 3-4 start and finds a lot of big changes from last season, which he attributes to the changes Kenny Atkinson and his staff have initiated.

Like the motion offense and pace...

Brooklyn leads the league with 333 passes per game, up from 292 (20th) last season.

No team has increased its pace than the Nets, who are averaging 6.2 more possessions per 48 minutes than they did last season (when they ranked 21st at 97.4 per 48). They've only seen a slight increase in passes per possession, from 3.0 last season to 3.1 this year. And they've assisted only 54.3 percent of their field goals, down from 58.3 percent last season.

They do move the ball really well on a lot of possessions, but still have many where Lin calls his own number off the dribble or where Lopez gets the ball in the post and keeps it there.

Like three point shooting...

The Nets have taken 39.5 percent of their shots from 3-point range, up from 21.8 percent last season. That's the biggest increase in the league by a wide margin.

New Nets coach Kenny Atkinson came from the Atlanta Hawks, who (at 32.9 percent) ranked fourth in percentage of shots that were 3-pointers over the last two seasons. They spread the floor, moved the ball, and often had five guys on the court who could shoot from the perimeter.And that's the early story with Atkinson's Nets. All 14 Nets who have played this season have attempted at least one shot from beyond the arc, and their two centers -- Brook Lopez and Justin Hamilton -- rank fourth and fifth on the team in 3-point attempts.

Like rim protection...

Opponents have shot 27.3 percent at the rim when Lopez has been there to protect it.

That's the lowest mark against 59 players who have defended at least five shots at the rim per game this season.

Last season, the Nets ranked last in opponent effective field goal percentage. This year, they rank 16th, and the biggest improvement has been at the rim, where they've allowed a lower volume and a lower percentage.

Not Lionel Hollins Nets and the change in record reflects that. Last year’s Nets were 1-6 after seven games and among the league’s worst teams in the categories that Schuhmann highlights.

How good can they be? Schuhmann doesn’t say but conservatively refers to Brooklyn as “one of the modest surprises in the first 15 days of the season.” In other words, so far, so good.