For all the problems the dreaded back-to-back represents, there is a flip side. The Brooklyn Nets — playing both legs at home, which helps tremendously — have a chance to notch two wins in 24 hours and bring their record back to .500 at 8-8. After defeating the short-handed Miami Heat on Saturday night, they’ll face the Chicago Bulls at the Barclays Center, tipping off at 7:30 p.m. ET. A win would cap off quite the momentum-boosting weekend after a three-game slide.
Prior to action, Jacque Vaughn discussed Cam Thomas’ status as he works to return from an ankle sprain, the play of Dorian Finney-Smith, and more.
Editor’s note: Not all questions/answers from the press conference are in this article.
Q: Cam Thomas Update?
JV: Yeah he didn’t participate in shoot around, or whatever we had, this walkthrough today. Tomorrow’s an off-day so that kind of puts him in a tough position for us to schedule actual practice for him. So hopefully we’ll get to a point where we can simulate some things with some video guys and also with some G-League guys this week coming up.
Q: Did you see the potential Dorian Finney-Smith to be this valuable offensively coming into the season?
JV: Well I think overall, trying to put him in a position is to take advantage of matchups. So we played small and big, and he can shoot threes vs. small and big. Knew that we were going to play fast, and so a lot of times when you’re playing fast, the dude who guards you one possession might not be guarding you another possession. Bigs oftentimes — they always fall back into going to the paint, it’s just how they are. And so that leaves Doe open, and so vs. Chicago is a prime example, last time. When we played them last time, Ben and Doe started, and Doe started on Vooch and so he was able to pick-and-pop and have some opportunities.
So you take those opportunities throughout the course of the year, then you take the spacing of the other guys that are around him, and if we’re driving and kicking, he’s going to get opportunities, and hopefully we unleashed that mentally when I said to him like, ‘Shoot eight threes bro. Go ahead, shoot them. We want you to shoot them, we believe in you. You’ve done it in the past.’ I think I had told the team that he had some stat like last three, five years he was 40-something percent on corner threes Like, tops in the league. And so, he has the resume behind it and we want to encourage him to keep shooting. I think put that all together and you get a great Doe.
Q: Is the current starting lineup — the one that closed last season — thriving due to more familiarity or schematic changes?
JV: I think you have a combination. There’s just some overall NBA skillsets that get passed on from year to year, just whether those are sets that are pretty traditional in the NBA that all our guys know how to run. Now do they have a little bit more continuity a little bit more corporate knowledge? Probably yes. And I think that pays dividends.
When we get in bad situations they have figured out how to get out of those because they do have some corporate knowledge. And then I think the overall feel of buying in and trying to incorporate what we’re doing this year for this team. They’ve embraced that, whether good and bad, as we started to figure things out. But I think that’s the big part, a little corporate knowledge behind it.