Brooklyn Nets Power Rankings: Rating Every Player After First Six Weeks
As injury woes persist, the Brooklyn Nets' disappointing season continues to get tougher.
Some Brooklyn players have stepped up and elevated their games in the midst of the team's struggles, but it hasn't been enough for the franchise to start winning.
Some prominent offseason moves gave Brooklyn one of the best rosters on paper heading into this season. But it's been a couple of surprising names who've given Nets fans something to cheer about, even outperforming those high-profile players who were looked upon to lead the Nets to the top of the Eastern conference.
Let's take a look at Brooklyn's roster and rank each player based on his performance thus far.
Stats are accurate as of Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2013.
15. Tornike Shengelia
Shengelia has only recently gotten an opportunity to showcase his value on the court. The 22-year-old has decent size, checking in at 6'9" and could see himself getting consistent playing time in the near future. Brooklyn is limited at the small forward position—where Shengelia plays—and if he starts knocking down shots, head coach Jason Kidd will have no choice but to put the kid out there.
14. Andrei Kirilenko
The Nets signed Kirilenko to strengthen their bench and possibly fill in for Paul Pierce as the starting small forward in the event of injury.
But that hasn't been the case. With Pierce sidelined again and AK47 still collecting DNPs, Brooklyn is in a difficult position. While Kirilenko's defense, energy and intangibles would bolster the franchise and quell the Nets' need for athleticism and length on the perimeter, it might be time Brooklyn shops around for a 3 that can stay on the court.
13. Jason Terry
Terry has been saddled with injuries and inconsistency. He's missed his last seven games with a bum knee, which could have been responsible for his below-average performance leading up to the hiatus. Terry has shot the ball poorly this season, struggling from the field (38.9 percent) and three-point line (35.3 percent).
If his body continues to limit him, Terry might find himself in the 11-to-15 territory for the duration of this basketball year.
12. Mirza Teletovic
Teletovic is another Nets player cashing in of late on the opportunity presented to him. Against the Los Angeles Lakers (Nov. 27) and Houston Rockets (Nov. 29), Mirza delivered 17 and 19 points off the bench. He knocked down 4-of-7 three-pointers against the Lakers and 3-of-6 against the Rockets. Teletovic has gotten more comfortable scoring from the perimeter and is deserving of a few more pick-and-pop plays being run for him.
11. Reggie Evans
Evans has done his job when called upon this year. Via NBA.com, he's currently getting eight rebound chances per game and is collecting 63.3 percent of those opportunities. He also has the fourth-highest success rate for those under nine chances per game, checking in behind LeBron James (72.2 percent on eight chances), Andrea Bargnani (66.4 percent on 8.2 chances) and Trevor Ariza (63.8 percent on 8.9 chances).
10. Tyshawn Taylor
With Deron Williams sidelined and Shaun Livingston underperforming in recent games, coach Kidd has chosen to bestow some confidence in 23-year-old point guard, Tyshawn Taylor.
Taylor had a career game against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 29, scoring 16 points and collecting 12 assists, but he wasn't as efficient as one would like. He turned the ball over three times and shot a shaky 6-of-17 from the field.
Although he's aggressive and possesses an explosive first step, Taylor has had a tendency of playing out of control, and thus negates all the positives he brings to the table. He can get to the lane and even finish in traffic, but he can also be a brick-laying ball-stopper, which is the last thing the Nets need at the moment.
He'll be encouraged to attack the basket, and as long as he abstains from shooting too many contested jumpers, he should see himself move up this list and in the Nets rotation, even as Williams returns to action.
9. Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston looked really solid in his initial slate of games as the Nets' No. 1 point guard, but his performance has waned since he dropped 23 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 18.
In the eight games that have followed, Livingston has failed to knock down more than two shots in any contest and has been sporadic as a distributor. He's collected more than five assists only three times over this stretch and has seen his minutes scaled back.
Livingston is a competent point guard with great size who sees the floor well, but he's shown of late why he's been a backup in recent years. He doesn't have enough explosiveness to thrive in the lane, and his perimeter shooting is above-average at best.
He'll need to get to the free-throw line more consistently—four to eight times a game—in order to move up this list. Livingston has been to the line only 10 times over his past eight games.
8. Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee's development has been one of the few bright spots in Brooklyn's dismal season.
The 6'11" rookie from Duke University is currently averaging 6.7 points on 68.5 percent from the field and is pulling down 3.4 rebounds per game. He's been energetic in transition, as shown in the video above, and hasn't had any trouble using his athleticism to score around the basket.
Plumlee brings a ton of intangibles to the court. His motor could always be counted upon, and he's been drawing contact and picking up free points at the foul line.
As the season progresses, Plumlee should rise another spot or two up this list. He's done a great job coming off the bench and delivering energy on both ends of the floor, while the majority of his teammates have looked listless and wounded at times.
7. Alan Anderson
Alan Anderson has done a decent job picking up the slack for Jason Terry as Brooklyn's backup shooting guard, but he's only knocking down 41 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Anderson is best suited as the guy who comes off the bench, takes a couple of catch-and-shoot jumpers, knocks down an open corner three and focuses on playing team basketball. But because of Brooklyn's injury issues, and its overall offensive ineptitude, Anderson has been forced into a bigger role than he's capable of playing.
He's attempting 3.6 three-pointers per game and knocking down only 36.9 percent of those shots. He's never been known as a marksman, and he should get his three-point attempts to under three a game and concentrate on driving and attacking the rim more often.
6. Paul Pierce
Before being sidelined with his hand injury, Paul Pierce was having one of the worst shooting years of his career.
As one of Brooklyn's only players capable of consistently creating for himself, Pierce got plenty of opportunities early on to rack up points. Through his first 15 games this season, Pierce attempted at least 10 shots in 10 of those games.
But none of that mattered.
Pierce was a shell of himself who couldn't take games over anymore or be depended upon as a No. 1 or 2 option. Upon his return, it will be interesting to see if his role with the Nets dwindles, or if he gets a chance at redemption.
His saving grace this season has been his rebounding (4.9 RPG) and assist (2.8 APG) numbers. Pierce has been able to maintain a level of production in those two categories on par with his career averages. His 2.5 turnovers per game is high, however, and he posts an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.1.
5. Deron Williams
Deron Williams places fifth here because of his inability to stay healthy and his lack of production when he was "healthy." With his ankle issues dating back to training camp, and possibly even earlier, Williams hasn't been 100 percent in a while, and it may be some time before we see him return to form.
When he was out there, D-Will performed modestly. He didn't find himself carving through defenses as well as he used to, and he had no rhythm on his jump shot. If his ankle heals and Williams gets fully healthy, Brooklyn's offense should improve and develop an identity.
The Nets need Williams running the show, and a guy like Paul Pierce could really benefit from being set up by such a skilled and experienced point guard, as opposed to having to constantly create his own shot.
4. Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett has been one of the few players actually contributing on defense. Due to his age and physical limitations, however, the impact hasn't been anywhere near enough to make the Nets look competent on that end of the floor.
Garnett is putting forth his best effort, as he's done in every outing over the course of his career, but his age is becoming more apparent with each game that passes. He doesn't have as much lift as he used to so he doesn't grab as many boards or block as many shot as one would like.
Despite his lack of explosiveness, KG is currently averaging 7.6 rebounds, and is grabbing 71.2 percent of his 10.6 rebounding chances per game, via NBA.com. He's also been able to averaging under a block per game, posting a season high of three rejections against the Charlotte Bobcats on Nov. 20.
3. Andray Blatche
The Brooklyn Nets must be grateful to have Andray Blatche as a member of its organization. The 27-year-old has grown immensely since departing the Washington Wizards and has excelled in his role with the Nets.
He's shooting 48.2 percent from the field and is posting averages of 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, with a PER of 18.15. Blatche was one of the few Nets capable of scoring consistently while center Brook Lopez was out of action. Over the seven games that Lopez missed, Blatche stepped in and averaged 16.9 points per game.
Blatche gives the Nets a reliable big man who can score in a variety of ways. He can take his man into the post, he can score off the dribble and he has range out to about 20 feet.
He also leads the Nets in steals, averaging 1.1 per game.
2. Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson has flipped the switch and is shooting very well in six of his last eight games—the only outliers being against recent games against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets, when he went 6-of-19 and 2-of-10 from the field, respectively.
Over these last eight games, Johnson has looked like the Joe Johnson that earned a max contract from the Atlanta Hawks. He's been strong with the ball (only 1.1 turnovers per game) and is letting it rain from all over the court.
Brooklyn will need Johnson to stay in rhythm if the Nets want to turn this season around.
Johnson, alongside Brook Lopez, will have to shoulder the scoring duties and continue to create for his teammates. Johnson is averaging 2.7 assists per game, and if he could raise that number to somewhere closer to his career mean of 4.3, Brooklyn's offense will flow a bit more smoothly as it awaits the return of Deron Williams.
1. Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez has been the Nets best player this season. He's emerged as one of the league's top offensive centers and will be the key to Brooklyn climbing toward .500.
Lopez is currently averaging 19.3 points on 54.2 percent from the field. He should see those numbers increase as the season progresses, and he gets closer to 15 shots an outing, as opposed to the 12.9 field-goal attempts he's currently averaging.
His rebounding numbers leave a lot to be desired, however, which has been the case with Lopez his entire career. He's currently grabbing 5.8 boards a night for the Nets, and since returning from injury, he's grabbed only one rebound against the Houston Rockets, nine against the Memphis Grizzlies and two against the Denver Nuggets.
The nine-rebound performance against the Grizzlies is encouraging, but it's more of an outlier at the moment.