Ranking the Brooklyn Nets' 10 Biggest Developments in Season's 1st Half

Ben FederCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2014

Ranking the Brooklyn Nets' 10 Biggest Developments in Season's 1st Half

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    The first half of the 2013-2014 NBA season has sure been an interesting one for the Brooklyn Nets.

    After finding themselves 10 games below .500 on Christmas, the Nets have turned around their season and are now 20-24. 

    Let's take a look at the Nets' 10 biggest development in the season's first half.

     

    Criteria for Ranking

    • How the development has positively or negatively impacted the team this season
    • What the development means for the team for the remainder of the season

Honorable Mentions

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    Improvement of Joe Johnson

    The Nets shooting guard averaged 16.2 points per game during January, his highest total for a month this season.

    Johnson’s month was highlighted by a 104-95 win against the Miami Heat when he racked up 32 points and shot 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.

    It is certainly no coincidence that Johnson’s improvement has largely impacted the Nets’ play as of late. 

     

    In the Playoff Picture

    Despite a 20-24 start to the season, the Nets still sit in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

    The Nets are just four games behind third seed Toronto and definitely have a chance to gain some ground come playoff time.

    Will Brooklyn win enough games down the stretch to advance to the postseason?

Playing Spoiler

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    On January 8, the Nets played the spoiler role as they prevented the Golden State Warriors from becoming the first team in NBA history to go 7-0 on a road trip.

    Joe Johnson led the way for Brooklyn, putting up 27 points on the night. The Warriors were down just three with 12 seconds left, but Kevin Garnett stole Stephen Curry’s pass and prevented any chance of a comeback.

    The victory also halted the Warriors’ overall win streak at 10 games. 

Mirza Teletovic Breakout Game

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    The Yugoslavian had the biggest game of his NBA career on January 24 when he torched the Dallas Mavericks for 34 points.

    Teletovic shot a ridiculous 7-for-11 on three pointers and had 24 points in the second quarter alone. Teletovic has only started six games this season but has provided Brooklyn with a viable option off the bench.

    Is he deserving of more playing time?

Decline of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    When the Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, they understood the two were past their prime.

    Brooklyn took a risk in trading away three future first-round draft picks along with Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries.

    Both Garnett and Pierce have struggled this season. Garnett averaged 14.8 points per game last year with Boston, but that number has dropped to 6.8 this season. Pierce is averaging 13.3 points per game, 5.3 less than last season.

    Do Garnett and Pierce have anything left in the tank?

Poor Rebounding

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    The Nets have been struggling to rebound the basketball all season.

    Their 39.8 rebounds per game rank them 29th in the league. Kevin Garnett is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, almost one fewer than he did last season.

    With Brook Lopez out, who will step up and become a presence on the boards?

Slow Start

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    After an offseason filled with major acquisitions, expectations were high for the Nets heading into the 2013-14 season.

    The Nets struggled early in the year and went 5-11 during November. Their poor play continued into December where the Nets found themselves at 10-21 by the month's end. The Nets only managed to win one road game during December which came against the last-place Milwaukee Bucks

Role of Deron Williams

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    The star point guard has been battling ankle injuries all season and been forced to miss 16 games.

    Williams has been back on the court since January 20, but just off the bench.  

    According to Kurt Helin of NBCSports.com, head coach Jason Kidd is not eager to re-enter Williams into his starting five.

    Should Kidd start Williams or is Shaun Livingston the better option right now?

Age

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    Right behind the Miami Heat, the Nets have the second-oldest team in the NBA.

    Brooklyn has seven players over 30 years old, including three over 35. Pierce and Garnett are two veterans that have seen their numbers drop from last season.

    Are the Nets too old to make a run in the playoffs? Should they look to acquire younger players by the trade deadline?

Jason Kidd vs. Lawrence Frank

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    In early December, head coach Jason Kidd demoted Lawrence Frank after Kidd was not happy with his assistant’s loud personality.

    According to Chris Mannix of SI.com, “at least once the two had words after a practice, with Kidd expressing frustration at what he perceived to be the more vocal Frank aggressively trying to run practice in a way Kidd didn’t.”

    Kidd wanted to make it very clear that it was his team and his voice was the one being heard. 

The Turnaround

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    The Nets sure embraced the start of 2014.

    Since January 1, the Nets have gone 10-2, and they now sit just four games under .500. This past month was highlighted by big wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.

    A large part of the Nets' success has come from their bench play.

    Will the Nets keep rolling throughout February?

Filling in for Brook Lopez

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    Since Brook Lopez went down with a foot injury on December 20, the Nets have gone 11-7 and proven they can win without their center.

    Lopez had been averaging 20.7 points and six rebounds per game, but Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic have picked up the slack. The two combine to average 21.1 points per game.

    Do the Nets need to make a trade for a big man?