Position Grades For The Brooklyn Nets Through Week 1
The Grades Are In
Many figured their record would be better, considering the roster upgrades that were made during the offseason. As with any team dealing with an overhaul, there will be chemistry issues. Deron Williams (11 points and eight assist) has to learn where his teammates like the ball and figure out when and if he needs to dish it or score it himself. As the season progresses, those problems will no longer be an issue. Williams is still healing from his ankle problems that caused him to play only 10 minutes in the preseason, but he is playing his way back into form and once fully recovered, this team will take off.
Kevin Garnett (six points and seven assist) has yet to assert himself in the low post game. Paul Pierce (14 points and six rebounds) is faring a little better than his old Boston Celtic teammate. These two were brought in to provide leadership, scoring and defense, and so far, only Pierce has lived up to his signing. Joe Johnson (13 points) has struggled this season with his shooting touch and defense. The lone bright spot this season has been Brook Lopez's (21 points, six rebounds and two blocks) dominate post presence both offensively and defensively.
The bench has played well, and if Jason Kidd continues to play his starters 25 minutes a night, then the bench will have plenty of chances to contribute on a regular basis. Shaun Livingston (six points and three assist) is proving to be a capable backup for Williams. Jason Terry (seven points) is instant offense off the bench subbing for Johnson. Andray Blatche (six points and six rebounds) is playing like he wants to take Garnett’s spot in the starting unit. Andrei Kirilenko (six points and four rebounds in 13 minutes) has done his job when on the floor. At some point, Kidd will have to up his starter’s minutes around the 30+ mark in order for them to gel.
The Nets as a unit are 18th in scoring, with an average of 97 points per. With the weapons they have, this number should be greater, but in time, all kinks will be worked out. The rebounding is a major concern, as they rank 20th with per game average of 42 rebounds. Garnett has to remember that when the ball comes off the glass, he has to go for it. With his size, Lopez has never been a great rebounder, and that has kept him from being listed as one of the best centers in the league. The defense has to improve as they rank 17th, giving up 100 points per. I pray these issues are chemistry related and learning new defensive schemes, but this is a veteran team and those problems need to be fixed quickly.
Here are the position grades through their first week of action.
5. Point Guards
Deron Williams has not played at the level that we are used to see him at. The ankle injury has diminished his ability to take opposing guards off the dribble and get to the hole. He seems to be tentative out on the floor, not sure whether to shoot or pass the ball.
Shaun Livingston has been sensational so far. With William not being 100 percent, Livingston has flourished with the extra playing time.
4. Shooting Guards
Joe Johnson is having another up and down season for the Nets. One game he is highly visible in the offense, and the next game you forget he is on the floor. He has one of the best jumpers in the league and a pretty good first step, but his confidence is lacking.
Jason Terry is what he is, and that’s instant offense off the bench. His ball handling needs to improve, but he is here to hit jump shots.
3. Small Forwards
Paul Pierce has been great so far, minus the missed shot at the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers game. He plays like he still has something to prove to the league, which will benefit the Nets in the long run.
Andrei Kirilenko has been consistent so far, but I expected much more from him. He should assume the leadership role in the second unit.
2. Power Forwards
Kevin Garnett has struggled badly this season. I don’t know if father time has caught up with him or his game has retired, but he needs to get it together. The missed open shots, the lack of hustle for rebounds, and the rookie mistake of jumping on pump fakes; this is not the normal Garnett.
Reggie Evans has not produced as well as he has in the past, and he needs to establish a presence for the second unit.
Brook Lopez is having another All-Star type of year. His scoring is keeping the Nets in games, and he has improved defensively in guarding the post. His rebounding could be better, but that has been the knock on him his whole career.
Andray Blatche has been remarkable for the second unit providing scoring, defense and rebounding.