Chris Fleming is in Germany this week, trying to get his German national team into next year's Eurobasket, the FIBA Europe tournament. He's now 2-0 in the qualifying tournament after a last-minute win over Austria Saturday. His team, once a powerhouse, is playing without Dirk Nowitzki, who retired from international play, and Dennis Schroeder, who took this summer off to focus his new assignment as Atlanta's starting point guard.
Once that's done, in a couple of weeks, he'll return to Brooklyn to work with Kenny Atkinson, his college teammate, on the Nets offense. The Nets No. 2 assistant, after Jacque Vaughn, Fleming is expected to be the Nets offensive guru.
So what can we expect? Atkinson has said that his roster will dictate his strategy, but looking at Fleming's past indicates the Nets will run a wide open, point guard-dominant offense, but one that will test the physical endurance of the players.
The speech was aimed at young European coaches, While a lot of it is elementary, here's how Denver Stiffs described its basic tenet... "If you want your guys to pass, and moving quickly out of the pick and roll, then define exactly what their looks are. That way they don't need a long time to decide what to do and the ball moves. It's a very passing-based offense."
Denver Stiffs also derived a number of principles from the speech
What will that look like from high up in Barclays Center or on YES?
Seems like a lot is going on with the offense, but it's pretty basic. With his desire to stretch the floor and have four guys out on the perimeter -- this should drag defenders out of the paint and open things up for Jeremy Lin to drive and/or work a pick and roll game with Brook Lopez.
The major point of emphasis is setting guys up. In the past couple of seasons -- especially with Joe Johnson being a focal point -- there was a whole lot of standing around and isolating. Some coaches call players like that a "black hole" because it stops the flow of the offense. If the ball does get passed back out, there isn't much chance for success because nobody else is moving off the ball in effort to get open and make the defenders work.
This doesn't seem to be the case with Fleming's offense. IF Lin can penetrate, the defense will have to make a choice: 1) Slide in the paint and leave the perimeter guys wide open. (Wonder why they signed so many shooters?) or 2) Trust the defender to cover Lin in a one-on-one situation. This sets things up wonderfully for the shooters AND big men down low that can do damage on the interior.
Along with constant movement on and off the ball, another point of emphasis is how fast all of this can happen. Unless a player i's going to take the shot, the ball shouldn't be in one player's hand for more than four or five seconds.
Both the ball and players should be constantly moving. If you watch Bojan Bogdanovic in Europe, one of the main reasons for his success was positioning. He knows where to be and when to be there. It isn't about "being at the right place at the right time." Rather it's knowing where to be and presenting a target for the passer to recognize that you're open and that you WANT the ball. Again, no standing around watching with your hands down. This all correlates with the transition game they'll try to run.
This all sounds refreshing especially when you compare it to the slow offense in the past. But there are issues. Guys can get gassed real quick. It'll be tough to sustain 48 minutes of this if your guys are tired. The Nets don't exactly have studs coming off the bench ready to fill the shoes of guys like Lopez and Lin when they step off for a breather.
It should get the most out of these guys, but their endurance will be heavily tested in a system like this.. Good almost all of them are in camp.