The Nets don’t play again until Monday night in Phoenix, so they have some time to figure out why they’ve lost four straight.
Is it the offense, the loss of “rhythm” as Kenny Atkinson puts it?
Or is it the defense, particularly on the perimeter where they’ve allowed the last four teams they’ve faced to shoot 43.3 percent.
Maybe it’s missing a number of their bigs: Trevor Booker, Quincy Acy, Jarrett Allen.
Most likely, it’s that time-honored final option in any multiple choice test: All of the above.
“[We have to] just get in the lab. We’ve got to get our confidence back right going into the next game. I think we’ll be all right,” D’Angelo Russell said in probably the most succinct answer. Confidence is a big deal on a young team.
Atkinson doesn’t like what he’s seeing —or more specifically— what he’s not seeing, that is a breakdown in the motion offense, with too much hero ball.
“It becomes contagious in a negative way,” Atkinson said of the Nets’ poor shot selection. “It’s collectively we’re just not moving the ball like we were in the beginning of the year. We better find the solution to that quick because teams are just too good defensively. We’re not a one-on-one team. That’s not how we’re built. We’re built on ball movement and player movement. We’ve got to get back to that.”
The big offenders, notes Greg Logan of Newsday, are Russell and Caris LeVert. They were 10-of-34 from the field against the Lakers, including a 2-of-13 from three-point range ... a number of them launched early in the clock.
“Coach [Kenny Atkinson] feels like we try to do it individually when we get down and stop moving the ball,” said Allen Crabbe. “We just have to get back to what works — getting back to the film, getting back to those preseason games, getting back to those three wins, and looking at what we did in those games.”
The defense has been atrocious and some see a connection, particularly when the Nets get down early and try to make up for it with three-pointers. Too often, that leads to easy fast breaks for the other team and the cycle just gets worse. That of course is not the only reason for the Nets defensive woes. That list is long. In fact, the Nets are now the worst defenders in the NBA.
As for the bigs, no word on when Booker, Acy, and Allen might be back. The Nets are being cautious. No reason to push things this early. But this early could become late if the Nets don’t turn things around fast.
- Nets think they can fix offense by improving on defense - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ only bright spot in Lakers loss finally finding his rhythm - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ defense puts drag on rebuild - Greg Logan - Newsday