The Nets showcased their ability to beat a contending team last Tuesday, but how can the Nets get to the Finals?
In a thriller on TNT, Tuesday night, the Nets and the Clippers clashed in a possible Finals preview. The two heavyweights duked it out for most of the night leading to an eventful Nets win. The best part about this win? Nets fans can now forget the horror show that was on display Sunday night against the Wizards.
In regards to Tuesday night’s win, I believe the Clippers have been the best team in the NBA thus far. Ty Lue is a “superstars” coach and has them playing unreal ball right now. So, some might say this matchup was not only must-watch TV but a statement game for some of the league’s finest players.
With a 124-120 win, we are on the cusp of something very special. Leading the league in scoring offense with 122.3 points per game, there is not one team that can shut down this high octane offense. Yes, even the Lakers will struggle with having to guard three top ten players. Their offensive rating of 117.9 is good enough for second in the NBA, but I could imagine that they will finish the season at number one in both categories. Now, this is some really special talent that has been accumulated here in Brooklyn. As each game draws a conclusion, the chemistry and confidence is coming together at a rapid pace. With that being said, the defense is woefully horrendous, but this can be attributed to effort.
I’ve been trembling to research how bad the defensive numbers really are. I friggin’ miss Jarrett Allen. Allowing an astonishing 117.8 points per game (somehow not the most) and a defensive rating of 113.5 (also not the worst) the Nets have some ground to make up. I will say the defense on Tuesday night was not horrible. James Harden is a willing defender against good teams and that showed. His low and high post defense is actually super impressive and something no one expected. Being on the east coast, no one truly watched Harden on a nightly basis. If you’re Sean Marks, you make this deal ten times out of ten still.
Back to reality. Our beloved Joe Harris has been terrible on the defensive end. He usually guards forwards that are bigger, stronger, and faster than him. A true shooting guard, Harris has been tasked with guarding threes and even fours on some occasions. This has led to his disaster start on the defensive end. There is still time to upgrade the roster, and with reinforcements such as Iman Shumpert and the fourth most talented player on the team Nic Claxton (as per Spencer Dinwiddie), there should be improvement soon. Understanding some of these defensive stats, this Twitter account NBA Math paints a fine picture of which teams and players stand out.
Are there options the Nets can explore over the course of the season? Silly question, Sean Marks is always one step ahead of everyone. When the Harden trade seemed dead in the water, Marks was able to deliver. At this particular moment, there are two options that I think can be game-changing. P.J. Tucker and Andre Drummond would solidify the Nets going to the Finals and no one can change my mind.
Tucker still employed by the Rockets, can provide perimeter defense the Nets sorely need. With a defensive mindset, he can come in right away and have a presence this locker room hasn’t seen in years. Defining the Twitter hashtag Brooklyn We Go Hard, Tucker has all the intangibles to personify this motto. The Rockets would look to cash in on his services so I believe two second-round picks could get the job done.
Much is to be desired about the interior defense and rebounding of the Nets. DeAndre Jordan has actually stepped up in Allen’s absence but the front office knows they cannot ride him the whole season. This is where Andre Drummond comes into play. Widely regarded as the best rebounder in the NBA, Drummond could be the anchor late in games that provide the attitude and grit this Brooklyn team is seeking. Imagine not having to worry about the offensive rebounds other teams have been so easily getting over the past month. Over/under on nightmares I’ve had since Tuesday of seeing Lou Williams out-muscle and out-hustle the Nets defense in the fourth quarter is set at five. That is being generous. While his defense isn’t outstanding by any means, there will be enough of a presence so offenses should think twice about stepping in Brooklyn’s paint. There have been rumors that Drummond could be bought out which bodes well for the Nets. I would love nothing more.
These two moves will have a tremendous impact on the Nets if given the chance to happen. I firmly believe they can beat anyone with a roster that includes both Tucker and Drummond. Fingers crossed guys!