In the publication "NBA Coaches Playbook: Techniques, Tactics, and Teaching Points," head coach Avery Johnson authored a chapter entitled "Attacking Offense." By "attacking offense," Johnson refers to a system focused heavily on fast, aggressive guard play at both ends of the court. His system is in many ways perfect for the new look Brooklyn Nets in 2012.
The following segment breaks down the "attacking offense" and how the Nets will effectively utilize it next season.
Under coach Johnson's system, the ball handler must first move the ball up quickly to the half court. He will then a quick decision from around the top of the key to either take a jump shot, drive to the paint for a layup, or make a quick lateral pass to a corner or wing shooter.
Point guard Deron Williams is one of the most fluid, versatile guards in the game. A career 18 point, 9 assist per game guard, Williams will be able to accomplish all the facets of the "attack offense" on command.
As a scorer, Williams operates best near the top of the key as a jump shooter or as a slasher. Williams is a career 46 percent field goal shooter
Williams has both the strength and dexterity to split weak double team, and will usually dominate against man-on-man coverage.
As a passer, Williams will be adequately flanked by corner and wing shooter Joe Johnson and baseline attacker Gerald Wallace. The next slide discusses Johnson and Wallace's role in the offensive scheme.
From the top of the key, Williams will have two primary passing options: shooting guard Joe Johnson on the corners and wings, and swingman Gerald Wallace ready to attack from the baseline.
Both Johnson and Wallace excel at their positions. Johnson is a six-time all-star and an elite jump shooter. He has a career average of 18 points per game on 45 percent field goal and 37 percent three-point field goal shooting.
Gerald Wallace is one of the best at his position at attacking the basket either in fast break plays or from the baseline in half court sets. Although not a traditional number one option, Wallace has a career average five free throw attempts per game.
The athletic small forward will have an opportunity to utilize his explosiveness to the basket when Williams routinely breaks down defenses and finds him for high percentage shots.
The Nets perimeter defense will create many attacking opportunities in transition. Johnson and Wallace, in particular, will execute steals and force turnovers and poor long range shots from opposing offenses.
Joe Johnson is one of the best defending two guards in the NBA. According to www.82games.com, opposing two guards and small forwards averaged a meager 12 player efficiency rating (the NBA average is 15) against Johnson in the 2010-11 season.
Gerald Wallace will defend the corners and baseline next season. He has averaged a career 1.5 steals a game and won an all NBA defensive team nod in the 2009-10 season.
Deron Williams is an adequate defender. His play might improve, however, under coach Johnson.
Dubbed the "little general" during his playing days, Johnson was once one of the better defending point guards in the league.
Efficient defensive rebounding and subsequent quick passes to the ball handler is a key component of the "attack offense."
The need for this skill explains why the Nets invested $24 million over two years for Kris Humphries' services.
Humphries is one of the best rebounding forwards in the league. In 2011-12, Humphries averaged 11 rebounds a game. He ranked eight in the league in defensive rebounding.
Gerald Wallace is one of the best rebounding small forwards in the NBA (6.8 a game in 2011-12). This bodes well for the Nets uptempo offense. Wallace can grab long rebounds, and in certain situations, run the ball up the floor for a quick transition score.
The Nets second unit—one of the more dangerous in the NBA—is well equipped with serviceable guards and corner shooting to run coach Johnson's system.
Back-up point guards C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks are both capable ball handlers who can quickly bring the ball up the floor.
Brooks, who averaged 12 points a game in his rookie season, is an athletic guard who can slash to the basket from the top of the key.
C.J. Watson averaged four assists in just over 23 minutes a game for the Chicago Bulls last season. He is also a deadly three-point shooter, converting 39 percent of this three-point attempts.
Watson, in particular, should be able to move the ball to former Euroleague star Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic will be a corner three-point shooter for the Nets. He averaged 43% from beyond the three-point line in the Euroleague last season.
One of the Nets concerns should be how Brook Lopez will fit into the attack offense.
The primary job of a center in this game plan is to rebound on the defensive end, and to set low screens and picks on the other end of the floor.
Lopez does not excel in any of these requirements. In his last full-season, the 7'0" center averaged an anemic six rebounds a game. He also has a reputation for being a mid-range jump shooting center, rather than attacking the basket for high percentage shots.
Although Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans are excellent rebounders, their man-on-man defensive skills are lacking. While Gerald Wallace may help in this respect, his defensive work will predominantly be around the baseline.
These interior defensive issues will allow opposing teams with strong frontcourt lineups to slow games down by pounding the ball into the paint.
That particular strategy is optimal against the "attack offense": the slower the contest, the less the Nets can make quick attacks against the basket.
This shortcoming will be a big problem for the Nets next year against the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and Indiana Pacers. Each team sports a powerful frontline that will force the Nets to play outside their comfort zone.
The Nets will have to adjust to these Eastern Conference powerhouses by resorting to a variety of slower isolation plays involving Williams, Johnson, and Lopez. When the three players are hitting their jump shots, the Nets should have a fighting chance. On other nights, expect them to struggle.
Avery Johnson should look forward to a successful Nets season. Any opponent that tries to run a marathon against the Nets will be at a disadvantage, and even in slower paced contests, the Nets have some sound jump shooters and quality perimeter defense to keep them in the game.
Overall, it sounds like a high 40-win to low 50-win season for the Nets.
However, if Johnson's system is going to work optimally, the Nets will also need be active in the trade and free agent market in 2013.
The Nets really don't need Brook Lopez for Johnson's system to work. What they need is a center who will do a lot of dirty work under the rim and open up opportunities for the Nets guards to hit the floor running.
Either Lopez will need to change his game dramatically this season, or the Nets may try to put him on the trade block as early as next summer.