I’m not proud of it, but I went through the sneakerhead phase in middle school. To keep up with my friends on the blacktop, I needed nothing more than a pair of De Rose 2.5S, LeBron 9Awez, or the original KD4S. For me, those were the shoes that got carried away.
You see, every time I pulled out enough cash for a pair of hot kicks, I was greeted with the same excuse as when my mom requested money. At the time I was 12, 13 or 14 years old, I was growing about an inch every six months. I was reminded over and over again that I would soon outgrow any of the shoes I bought, making them useless. It was an honest and fair point which I had no denial. Well played mom
For the last two years, Brooklyn Nets Fans of all ages, shapes and sizes have faced a similar problem. Although it has nothing to do with one’s teenage years, it has been equally disturbing.
Making the leap from shoes to apparel, buying a Brooklyn Nets jersey that will stand the test of time has become quite a task. Like my sneakers, most Nets uniforms are out of date after a season or two due to the team’s insane roster turnover from year to year.
While hardcore fans can still find a place for them in their wardrobe, who at this point wants a Brooklyn Nets jersey from James Harden, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Caris Levert, or Jarrett Allen? Although stylish, they are oh-so-old. They were all hot objects at one point or another, but now they are all on clearance for a reason. “Fake” isn’t the right word, but they’re like a pair of sneakers that no longer fit.
Since the start of the 2020-21 season, continuity has been completely different for the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets welcomed 10 fresh faces through the doors of the HSS training center to kick off the season last year. Earlier in the season they welcomed eight. By the end of each season over the past two years, 24 players wore black-and-white attire.
Last year alone, the team changed two-thirds of its roster in a span of 10 months. While the Nets had a laundry list of other issues that led to their demise last season, all this new blood and the lack of chemistry from it certainly didn’t help.
Now, the nets seem to be done with flip-flopping players at such a fast pace. Looking ahead into the upcoming season, the Nets are trending back in favor of consistency, with 10 players set to rejoin the team this year with only five new faces (six if you count Chris Chioza). , who played two years at Brooklyn before spending a fruitful season with Golden State.)
It goes deeper than just the names on the roster. The best way to build consistency within an organization is to gather and develop young players. The Nets will do the same this year, bringing in a flurry of second year guys coming out of the rookie season they spent in Brooklyn.
Cam Thomas, De’Ron Sharp, Kessler Edwards and David Duke Jr. are all back, with Duke on the second two-way. The last time Brooklyn had a rookie and brought him back for a sophomore season was when he did it with Nick Claxton in 2020.
Granted, the Nets still remain a team divided into three “factions,” determined more by salary than anything. At the top you have the stars of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. Beneath them you’ll find Patty Mills, Seth Curry, Joe Harris, Claxton, Sharpe, Thomas, Edwards and Duke Jr.’s returning role players. After this comes new players in Royce O’Neill, TJ Warren, Edmund Sumner, Markiff Morris. and Alondes Williams, the other two-pronged.
Brooklyn’s success during the 2022–23 season will depend on how these three “factions” learn to play with each other and eventually merge into a collective unit on and off the court. In some aspects of the game this should be fairly easy to accomplish, while others may require some work. Let’s start with the stars and work your way through the roster.
Watch Ben Simmons first and foremost. Building chemistry begins within the transition game, followed by drive-and-kick actions at the halfcourt. Thankfully, Simmons’ supporting cast has additional basketball tools to help make that happen.
Along with Harris, Curry must be one of Brooklyn’s deadliest returning role players… and as a former teammate familiar with the game of Ben 10. Last year with the Nets, he shot a blistering 46.8 percent from downtown on 6.5 attempts per game. These deadeye shooting skills make him Simmons’ deadliest weapon. Harris was shooting 46.6 percent last season, when he went down 47.5 percent a year earlier. They have never played together.
We’ve all seen that infamous graphic of Simmons passing while all his fellow mates get up for shots, but as with all jokes, Simmons, with his size and speed, drives through the lane like a steam engine. Let’s pull the defenders in. His court vision does the rest, allowing him to find open mates who can hit from range.
During his days in Philly, Curry always played better with Simmons on the floor. His 3-point volume during games with him increased by 0.7 attempts, a 4.3 percentage point increase in his percentage compared to his previous season without. We can expect that to continue in Brooklyn.
On the topic of 3-point shot creation, you can also nod in the direction of Nats Harris, Irving, Durant, O’Neale, and Mills, who shot north of 36.0 percent on catch-and-shoot triples last season . That hell burning between Simmons and Curry must spread to all of them too.
Edmund Sumner missed last season due to injury, but he shot 39.8 percent, though 1.5 catch-and-shoot threes per game. I’m not sure that qualifies him as a potential Simmons weapon, but keep him on your radar. Also watch out for Kessler Edwards to become a Simmons-sniper. He averaged the fifth-most catch-and-shoot triples at the nets last year despite averaging only 20.4 minutes per game. He also showed improvement in the Summer League, outperforming in Vegas by 40 percent.
While all of this makes it exciting for Brooklyn to integrate Simmons into the starting lineup, there will be challenges as well. Finding floor spacing with a lineup including Simmons and Nick Claxton or De’Ron Sharp will take some maneuvering. Running Simmons as a small ball center could answer that puzzle. However, it can be a bumpy road to travel, as Simmons played only 9.0 percent of his five minutes. During his last season in Philio,
A better jump-shooting Claxton could also help solve this issue, but off season workout videos And g league archival material It’s one thing and a competitive NBA game environment is another. Steve Nash will finish his job for her.
Claxton may be getting his stride with Simmons in the transition game. The Clax often excelled as a rim runner that most of the NBA’s big players couldn’t keep up last year. He rarely missed such rack attacks, finished third in the entire league For frequency scoring on the transition property.
Sophomore David Duke Jr. could also ally himself with Simmons here. His pace and bounce made him a threat at the break even during his limited run last season. For DDJ, their 28.3 percentage points came at the break, a team-high mark.
Sumner also likes to run and shoot guns. During his last healthy season, his 30.8 percentage points came on the break, which had the highest rate among All players in that season who averaged at least 15 minutes per game.
Well, what about the ISO ball? The Nets led the league in ISO scoring last season and with Durant and Irving your best players, it should come as no surprise. Compare this to Simmons who has more “team ball” skills. So how will it work this season? Let’s start with Irving.
To start, Irving is as deadly on the run as anyone. He Average of most transition assets per game Last year in the nets and 13th in the entire league.
But in the halfcourt, shooting off screen and handoff is the name of the game for Kyrie.
Being such a talented shot maker, Irving’s ability to navigate pick-and-roll is often forgotten. Ex-Net James Harden was seen as the man for Brooklyn before his departure, but last year, Irving On average only 0.3 fewer pick-and-roll assets per game than Beard, With that note, he is looking to develop some rhythm with Sharpe, who has played only 11 games with Irving and unlike the other role-man on the team at Claxton.
Irving isn’t known for throwing the kind of lob that Sharpe used to catch off Harden, but he often swings his way around the screen to get up for shots. Exactly where to step, how long to stay on the hip, and where to explode for shots will take time to iron out Irving and Sharpe.
O’Neill, Warren, Simmons and Morris will likely be involved in the pick-and-roll game as well and need to develop chemistry in a similar way. O’Neill and Irving may be able to find some earlier than the rest, as the former jazz forward made 98 screen assists last season, clock in third behind centers Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside.
Those supporting screens included 3-tier scorer Donovan Mitchell – like Irving. So with that knowledge, there’s reason to believe he can replicate that production in Brooklyn.
Looking at the hand off, Irving ranked in the top 15 in field attempts on such shots per game last year. You can even stick Patty Mills next to it, who was ninth last year,
Irving and Mills clearly love swinging around teammates to get their teammates on the cliff and get up for shots. This kind of play screen, or a ghost screen for that matter, works similarly, so it also takes time to smooth out the kinks there and should be monitored as the season progresses.
Durant’s tendencies—and his ability to chemistry with his supporting cast—are similar to Irving’s. Last year, the Slim Reaper broke the Top 40 in field goal attempts per game handoff. Time and position will again be crucial for Durant and his teammates in this coming year.
Though they remain similar dramas, the shot off screen proved Durant’s strength. He averaged the third-most field goal attempts shooting off the screen in the league last year. Being the skilled scorer he is, KD also secured third highest marks,
With him preferring mid-range shots, Sharpe, O’Neill, Warren, Simmons and Morris will need to be on time with their choice and handoff to roll Durant.
Durant’s dominance at the halfcourt often leads the average fan to overlook his skills in the transition, where he stacks up nicely with Irving and Simmons. KD ranked 26th Transition assets per game Last year. He Average 18th highest scoreConverting here too at a high rate.
We should be seeing three F1 Ferrari engines in Brooklyn for next year and possibly beyond. Simmons is on contract for three years, Durant for four years. As for Irving, he is only under contract for this season, but that could change.
It will all be over, but a resurgence of continuity on the team and Simmons being fit will help with that and therefore tying the three factions of the team together more easily. Now I can list my shoe collection.