The Brooklyn Nets have one of the best benches in the NBA, and Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats was further proof of that. The Nets’ second unit has range with Mirza Teletovic, Marcus Thornton and Alan Anderson. They have size with Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee and now Jason Collins.
If the Nets are to compete for a title this season then the play of the bench will be key. Jason Kidd has to love the fact that he can look down the bench and call on any number and they have the ability to check in and produce at will. The only negative I give the second unit is their defensive effort.
The starting five is a pretty good defensive unit, but when the bench is in the game opposing teams are more likely to make a run to either tie the game or take the lead. The small-ball lineup has its advantages, but the disadvantages are glaring as well. The Nets have lacked rebounding even with Brook Lopez on the court. The Nets don’t have that one player who can go out and grab 10+ rebounds a game. They also don’t have that one dominant inside defensive presence that will keep teams from constantly driving to the rim.
Offensively they can score the ball, but when the playoffs start they will have to find a way to stop teams from scoring. The game becomes a half-court contest in the postseason, and the Nets have the play-makers but lack the defenders. The majority of the teams in the Eastern Conference do not have great size but are great defensive teams. While the Nets have improved as the season has progressed, they still are weak in the paint.
The hope is that Kevin Garnett can fully recover from his current back problems to be a force in the paint, but he still only plays 24 minutes a game. The key to their success is still the bench. The starters will put you in the game, but the bench has to keep you in it. The Nets’ second unit is good, but they will have to be great in order for the team to experience playoff success.