By Craig Fields
So here we are. Another NBA season under way, and of course disappointment that teams have not started off undefeated. One team that undoubtedly has some pretty disappointed fans are the Brooklyn Nets. Starting off the season 2-2 with that one win being against the Miami Heat, may not sound that bad, but when one of those loses is to the Orlando Magic by 21 points, I beg to differ.
I’m sure with the acquisitions of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko, the Brooklyn Nets faithful envisioned a world where they would be 82-0. Well unfortunately, that will not be the case.
This team has a lot of glaring problems. For starters, the minutes distribution has been, well awful to put it bluntly. I know that first year Head Coach Jason Kidd has a lot of things to learn, but assistant coaches Paul Frank and John Welch are more than adequate. I honestly believe that if I had those two guys on my staff, even I could be a head coach.
Let me explain what I mean about the minutes distribution. Andrei Kirilenko, who is a very good all-around forward, is averaging 11.5 minutes a game. That is unacceptable. A guy like Kirilenko is capable taking over a game defensively, and in some cases offensively. Last year when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves he showed flashes of brilliance, especially with Kevin Love being sidelined. You have got to get this guy in the game. Period.
Joe Johnson, the 21 million dollar man himself, is only averaging 28 minutes a game. That is unacceptable minutes coming from your starting shooting guard who has the potential and ability to get you at least 20 points a night. You have to give your playmakers an opportunity to make plays.
Your starting perennial all-star point guard, Deron Williams is only getting 25 minutes a game. That is ridiculous. Those are bench minutes. I repeat, you have to give your high dollar, skilled starters the opportunity to make plays.
There are players getting too many minutes who, I’m sorry, just don’t deserve the time on the court. I hate to say it but Shaun Livingston, is one of those players. Fix it Brooklyn. Your season, offensive production, and chemistry depend on it.
Now I do realize that there have only been four games played, so I will not harp on this point that much, but chemistry, or lack thereof, is a problem here. There seems to be none. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have chemistry. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson have chemistry as well. However when it comes to all five of them being on the court together, they have yet to come together effectively. Chemistry is something that can only develop by playing together. They have time but the clock is ticking. They only have this group as it is for a maximum of two years.
A byproduct of this lack of chemistry has been the turnovers that have plagued this team early this season. Averaging about 16 turnovers a game will not get it done; in the regular season or the playoffs. There is no reason for this team of veterans with high basketball IQ’s to turn the ball over that much. This coaching staff is going to have to find the reason behind it and get that cleared up going forward.
Another stick in Brooklyn’s craw is that they are old. They have the second oldest age average in the league, behind the Miami Heat. The players who play the meaningful minutes for this team are older and are kind of finding it difficult to keep up with the young bucks in the league. Hence the 21-point blowout handed to the Nets by the Orlando Magic. There is no remedy for this unfortunately unless someone finds a time machine or the fountain of youth in Jason Kidd’s backyard. At any rate, these wily veterans will have to dig deep if they wish to be on a Nets team that will challenge the Heat for their seat at the top of the Eastern Conference.