Without a doubt the Brooklyn Nets have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA thus far through the young 2013-14 season. After all of the commotion that the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett trade caused around this team, the Nets have failed to deliver through their first 11 games as they sit with just a 3-8 record.
There are a number of reasons why you can point to Brooklyn’s extremely slow start this year. For one, they haven’t really had a healthy Deron Williams on the floor this season, nor have they had Andrei Kirilenko due to back issues. More than that, Pierce and Garnett haven’t been playing up to par to start the season either which has hurt them. Speaking more generally (and yet specifically also), though, the Nets’ biggest problem this year has been their defense.
On Wednesday night as the Nets played there way to another loss, this one against the Charlotte Bobcats, Brooklyn’s defense continued to be a problem as they allowed the Bobcats to score 95 points in a rather slowly paced game and allowed an offensively challenged Charlotte squad to shoot 44.4 percent from the field and just a hair under 39 percent from three. Sure, they allowed just 12 points in the fourth quarter, but a game is four quarters long which is, in essence, the problem.
In terms of just points per game, Brooklyn has been pretty bad as they’ve allowed 102.4 per game, the 22nd ranked rate in the league. In addition, they are allowing their opponents to shoot 45.7 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three on the season, which is obviously less than ideal. However, it gets worse when you dig even deeper.
In terms of points allowed per 100 possessions, the Nets rank a paltry 26th in the league as they allow 104.9 points per 100 possessions. That number looks even worse when you consider that their offense is putting up fewer than 100 points per 100 possessions. Moreover, the rank a mere 24th in the NBA against in terms of points per possession, allowing 0.9. They are one the worst in the league against the pick-and-roll, particularly when the man with the ball attacks off of the screen. They also struggle to defend spot-up shooters and contest those shots, allowing 1.06 points per possession in that regard.
There are a lot of things that still need to happen for this Nets team to get going. Their veterans need to get in-rhythm, the team as a whole needs to get more comfortable, and some key guys need to get healthy. However, none of those things will matter if their defense doesn’t improve going forward. Sure, some of those positive changes will help the defense, but it’s going to take more than just that to make it not be an issue for this team any longer.