Prior to Monday’s game, most of the pundits engaged in power rankings had a soft spot for the Nets, but the loss of Caris LeVert and to Minnesota no doubt will change that. As we noted last week, the rankings now come out between Friday and Wednesday (instead of traditional Monday morning). So we’re noting the date of ranking as well as the position.
The Nets rank fifth offensively (113 points scored per 100 possessions) in November, climbing into the top 10 overall. Caris LeVert hit the game-winner in Denver on Friday on an isolation and has scored 1.27 points per possession on isos, the third best mark (behind those of Khris Middleton and Kemba Walker) among 38 players with at least 25 isolation possessions. Joe Harris has shot a league-best 33-for-56 (59 percent) on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, while Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell have combined for 58 assists and just 14 turnovers over the last six games. The numbers with both Dinwiddie and Russell on the floor have not been good, but they’ve only played a little over five minutes per game together over that six-game stretch. With two of their next three games against two of the three worst defenses in the league, the offense could continue to climb.
The Nets had a strong week, winning three games in a row with a big road victory over the Nuggets before finally losing to the Warriors at Oracle. The Nets continue to be led by Caris LeVert, who was averaging 22.4 PPG in the five games leading up to the Warriors loss, but he had to leave that game early with a knee injury that will be worth keeping an eye on.
Caris LeVert has been fun this season.
His second game against the Warriors was gross. But that floater was so divine and so clutch that we can look past one bad game against the defending champs. And the Nets have Joe Harris putting up 24, continuing to improve from year-to-year and showing that he may have found his role in Brooklyn.
I don’t think our collective staff is taking the Brooklyn Nets seriously enough yet, but I’m also not sure where you throw them higher than 20th right now. It feels like they’re neck-and-neck with the Miami Heat. They’re definitely not as good as Charlotte, but they could very well be more respected than the big names on Detroit by the end of the season. The key to their success so far, as fleeting as it may be? Joe Harris, the guy Ian Eagle refers to as the lumberjack.
Harris has made 57.8% of his 3-pointers this season, launching almost five attempts per game. He should definitely be one of those shooters taking closer to around 10 per game. There are eight players in the NBA shooting eight or more 3-pointers per game. Paul George (32.7%), Tim Hardaway Jr (35.5%), Devin Booker (33.3%), and Eric Gordon (23.1%) are all in that club. Why isn’t Harris getting the same green light on a team full of green lights? The Nets lose roughly 7.2 points per 100 possessions in net rating when they take Harris out of the game. His presence means the world to this scrappy, competing team.
Caris LeVert might be the closest thing this team has to a star, but the Nets’ most valuable player so far this season might be Joe Harris. He’s averaging 29.2 minutes per game, has the team’s best net rating and leading the NBA in three-point percentage (57.8 percent).
They are feisty. They can shoot. But it’s hard to take them seriously as long as Jared Dudley is the starting power forward.
The Nets forced a league season-high 28 turnovers against the Sixers on Sunday, leading to a 122-97 win.
”We can control games by our defense, even if our shots aren’t falling,” Caris LeVert told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “That’s something last year that we didn’t have. Last year when we weren’t hitting shots we were in trouble.”
Brooklyn has won three of its last four, and the 101.4 defensive rating it managed over three games this past week would be good enough to rank second in the league over a full season.
It’s been a lot of fun to watch the Nets at times this season but an injury to Caris LeVert puts a damper on things. The NBA world is standing alongside the former Michigan standout but even members of the team felt it difficult to discuss basketball in the awake of what transpired on Monday evening.