I’m not breaking news here, but the Brooklyn Nets are a very good basketball team. Recently snagging the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference whilst on a four-game win-streak, the Nets have been practically unbeatable since making the James Harden trade, going 28-9 in that time span. But if there has been one thing that has eluded this incredibly talented group, it’s inbounding the basketball at the end of games. It’s the weirdest thing.
To make sense of Brooklyn’s odd conundrum, I went through every single inbound of the Brooklyn Nets season, searching for some pattern recognition and a possible cause and effect. One thing stood out in particular...
- 0:30 Baseline Inbounds - Brooklyn’s most embarrassing play of the season came from this specific play type, a turnover against the Washington Wizards by Joe Harris that immediately resulted in a Russell Westbrook three. The rest? I guess you’ll just have to watch and see.
- 1:32 Sideline Inbounds - Brooklyn’s basic setup from sideline inbounds is straight-forward; two players in the frontcourt and two players in the backcourt, ready to receive the pass. This is done to ensure as much space as possible for the players in the backcourt to find openings without the threat of multiple defenders hawking nearby. In this section, I analyzed whether a) the two up front, two in back strategy was a viable one by comparing Brooklyn’s inbounds to other teams in the league; b) certain actions — screens, fake screens, cuts — led to better results; and c) the cast of players, the inbounder and the two receivers, mattered.
- 8:50 Go Ahead Inbounds - The sample of potential game-tying or game-winning inbounds is small, because, well, the Nets simply haven’t been in many close games! Though there was something to glean from the limited sample we’ve seen thus far...
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