Brooklyn Nets: Can Deron Williams and Joe Johnson Mesh with Lopez on Offense?
The Brooklyn Nets have three talented offensive players this season who suddenly need to mesh with each other. Point guard Deron Williams, shooting guard Joe Johnson and center Brook Lopez are all being thrown together into an offense that hopes to be potent but has yet to prove itself.
The three players combined played only 60 games last season for the Nets (Williams in 55, Lopez in five and Johnson in none). Johnson was recently acquired from the Atlanta Hawks, Lopez missed nearly the whole season with injuries and Williams also missed significant time with injuries.
Last season, Williams averaged 21 points per game while serving as the primary ball-handler. Lopez, for his part, averaged more than 20 points per game two years ago when he was healthy. Johnson scored 25 points per game when he was the go-to scorer for the Hawks in 2006-07.
Will Willams, Johnson and Lopez make each other better or worse?
One problem is that there aren't that many shots to go around. It would be very optimistic to think these three players are going to put up 66 points per game between them. This means that some or all of them are going to have to decrease their shots per game and increase their efficiency.
Williams is optimistic so far about the situation (via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News):
Everybody talks about we both need the ball in our hands. But number one, in Utah, I didn’t always have the ball in my hands. The system we ran, I’d give it up and get it back at the end of the shot clock. I like coming off screens. So I think we’ll be a great fit.
One way to help make the backcourt work would be to have more ball movement and try to explicitly avoid isolation basketball. Head coach Avery Johnson reportedly hopes to "play faster than [they have] been playing" to try to make this happen.
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