After dropping Kyrie Irving again into the combination with Kevin Durant and newcomer James Harden, Brooklyn has the potential to grow to be an offensive juggernaut. But the opposite finish of the court docket is each bit the difficulty it was anticipated to be.
So far there’s been no D in Brooklyn.
Watching the Nets debut their Big Three however lose 147-135 to offensive-challenged Cleveland, it’s not fairly truthful to say they’ll go so far as their defense takes them. More like they’ll solely get so far as that sieve-like defense permits them to go.
“We are more or less responsible for putting these pieces together and making it work. Offensively it clearly wasn’t enough, (but) we still needed to get stops on the other end,” Irving mentioned. “So that’s going to be the tale of our season, is how committed are we to that end of the floor moving forward.”
Unless they need it to be a story of the superteam that failed, they’ll want to fret extra about getting stops than buckets. Despite having a number of restricted particular person defenders, they have to study to play higher crew defense to achieve their objectives.
The 147 factors they allowed Wednesday are essentially the most within the NBA thus far this season. Granted, they got here in double-overtime; however towards a Cavs crew with the league’s worst Offensive Rating, and minus Kevin Love and Darius Garland.
Brooklyn additionally surrendered 141 to Atlanta on Dec. 30, and sits 22nd in Defensive Rating going into Friday’s rematch with the Cavs.
“Some great glimpses; we started off the game very good. Just the entire game, we’ve just got to find a way to get stops when we need to,” Harden admitted. “Offensively, statistically they’re not an excellent crew, however they made some photographs, so we’ve simply received to observe some movie and get higher and chip away.
“We’re still early in this process, it’s early for all of us. We’ve got a long way to go.”
The Nets’ Big Three mixed for 96 factors of their debut; however Brooklyn additionally had a horrid 122.4 Defensive Rating with the trio on the ground.
There are considerations about roles, rotations and shot distributions, Irving coming off a seven-game layoff and placing up 28 photographs – greater than Durant and twice as many as Harden. But the offensive IQ between the trio, coach Steve Nash and assistant Mike D’Antoni will probably type that out. The defense engenders so much much less religion.
Brooklyn allowed .514 taking pictures on Wednesday, 20-of-40 from deep and 6-of-7 in a 20-point second additional time.
They have been helpless as Collin Sexton poured in 42 factors, together with 5 within the first OT and 15 within the subsequent.
“We had breakdowns all over the place; so we’ve got a lot of work to do. We know that,” mentioned Nash. “We know that we now have a really offensive crew proper now, so we now have to search out methods to defend, to get related, to be on the identical web page, and that’s going to take a while.
“It’s definitely early as far as this new group learning to defend together and how we can be effective defensively. That’s got to be one part of our game that we’re going to focus on the most going forward.”
Can focus repair this?
A Harden-Irving backcourt was by no means going to be stout defensively. Dealing Jarrett Allen robbed them of their rim safety, underscored once they allowed 64 factors within the paint Wednesday whereas he blocked 4 of photographs for his new crew.
Yes, fatigue performed a job because the Nets starters seemed gassed within the second OT. But guard Bruce Brown, their solely stout perimeter defender, logged simply 7:01.
While there have been drained legs, and gamers nonetheless getting used to 1 one other, there may be additionally a personnel downside that may’t be ignored. And might not be simply solved.
“All the above,” Nash admitted. “That doesn’t mean that because we have offensive personnel that we can’t be better, improve our communication, get guys in the better condition. We feel positive in that we can improve defensively; but it’s definitely got to be a priority.”
Make that the precedence.