How to Concentrate the Most Brooklyn Nets Firepower into Reliable Late-Game Unit
The Brooklyn Nets have won five straight games, and much of that has to do with their ability to score a ton of points. They currently average 97.5 points per game and sport a plus-five point differential.
Three starters are currently averaging at least 16.0 points per game—Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez—and Kris Humphries is averaging double figures with 10.0 points per game.
The Nets' wins have come in games where they've been outscoring their opponents by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, so they haven't really had all too many games where they've had to play catch-up.
Because of this, they haven't had to play with a potent offense in the fourth. Their current late-game unit is reliable as an all-around group, but there's a different combination that could be even more potent.
Williams would still be the late-game point guard. He is the team leader on offense, and can run the pick-and-roll with Lopez to perfection. He is also the team's best passer, and that is a necessity in late game situations.
He's the team's second-leading scorer at 18.6 points per game. He also shoots 88 percent from the free-throw line. Having clutch shooters from the stripe is essential in the fourth quarter.
The offense should run through Williams in late-game situations.
At shooting guard, there should be a slight change. MarShon Brooks is one of the best up-and-coming pure scorers in the NBA. His ability to create shots and score from nearly everywhere on the floor would be key in clutch situations.
He's seen limited playing time lately and is only averaging 8.0 points per game. His dynamic play is too valuable to leave on the bench when in need of a bucket, so he'd have to be a part of this potent unit.
Joe Johnson would slide over to small forward to make room for Brooks. Johnson has struggled with his shot early on—he's only shooting 36 percent from the floor—but he's still averaging 16.0 points per game.
The Nets keep feeding him the ball, and it's only a matter of time before he catches fire.
Johnson is also a very clutch performer. Last season, in the final five minutes of games, Johnson's shooting percentage went from 43 to 49 percent and his offensive rating improved from 101.8 to 113.8.
Johnson needs to be in the lineup in clutch spots.
Power forward for the Nets has primarily been reserved for strong rebounders. Both Humphries and reserve Reggie Evans have been dominant rebounders relative to their playing time.
As the starter, Humphries has averaged 11.6 per game. Off the bench, Evans has 6.8 per game.
In late situations, the unit with the most firepower would not include either. Andray Blatche, the reserve center, has earned himself the right to play in clutch situations.
Coming off the bench, Blatche has dropped 11.8 points per game. While not a typical center, his skills translate well to the four.
He shoots 46 percent from the floor, mostly relying on mid-range jumpers. Given some more playing time, he could average 15.0 points per game.
A controversial signing in the beginning, Blatche has earned himself a prominent role on this team.
At center, none other than Lopez should be in the game in the fourth. He is the team's leading scorer (18.8 points per game), and is shooting a fantastic 53 percent from the floor.
He has really stepped up big time this season, and could potentially be on his way to his first career All-Star game.
Having a presence in the paint is essential during games, especially during the fourth quarter. With Lopez in the game, there's always an opportunity to score.
The Nets have been playing well early on. They're 6-2 and looking to be in good shape in the Eastern Conference. That being said, it'd be smart to have a dominant late-game unit prepared on the off chance that they need some quick points.
This group can get the job done.
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