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Will Nets adopt small ball and send Joe Harris to PF? Don’t be surprised

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2020 NBA All-Star - Saturday Night Presented by State Farm Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images

The sample may be small because of injuries, but Brian Lewis writes Monday that Nets best lineup when healthy is their three guards, Jarrett Allen .... and Joe Harris at the 4 ... with Taurean Prince coming off the bench.

“I would’ve never thought in my life I’d be playing power forward in the NBA, but that’s the direction the NBA is going,” the 6’6”, 220 pound Harris said. “And as the year wears on, teams are doing whatever it takes to win games. Sometimes that’s going with a smaller lineup.”

Indeed, writes Lewis, the numbers tell a story the Nets cannot ignore.

Of 29 different combinations Atkinson has used for at least 15 minutes, it’s by far the most effective with Irving. The lineup has outscored foes by 20.5 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball Reference with the next-closest being a plus-9.2.

Kenny Atkinson has never been afraid to go small. You have to remember, he is a branch of the Mike D’Antoni coaching tree and the Rockets coach has been going increasingly small using James Harden and Russell Westbrook as his primary scorers, with 6’5”, 245 pound PJ Tucker at center with 6’7”, 209-pound wing Robert Covington at stretch 4.

Lewis notes as well that the Nets supersmall (without Kyrie Irving) during the Raptors game with 6’8”, 235-pound Wilson Chandler at center for the final four minutes in the win.

“Guys are not posting up a ton. It’s just the way analytics plays into it,” Harris said. “Anytime you get a post-up, always the points per possession is lower. It’s more difficult shots. Guys are strong enough, athletic enough, long enough where they can defend in the post, where guys are just not [posting up].”

Atkinson admits it’s something he’s likely to use, if only to see how it works.

“We have opportunities to play small, really small, too. That’s within our possibilities. We’ll just figure it out. It’s hard to know until you have it in your hands what exactly you’re going to do.”