by Jeffrey Sampson | Apr 18, 2022 | General
Photo By – USA TODAY Sports
After a devastating 114-115 loss against Boston, the Nets are now 0-1 in the series. You probably think that it’s too early to judge them after one game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t point out the obvious flaws they had this game despite coming back.
The whole game was neck and neck and even tied 61-61 by halftime; however, it never went in the Net’s favor. Both KD and Kyrie struggled for a bit, but Kyrie eventually gained his rhythm while KD still struggled but managed to end the game with 23 points. Not only that, the Net’s largest lead was 5 which wasn’t achieved till the fourth quarter.
Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant (7) gestures after making a three-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in New York. The Nets won 110-98. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)
The Celtics and the Nets had similar stats, even down to the defensive rebounds where the Nets struggled again. However, the offensive rebounds set off the differences. Both teams during the regular season weren’t the best, with Boston averaging 10.5 and the Nets averaging 10.4. However, in this playoff game, the Celtics had 14 offensive rebounds to Brooklyn’s 5. Mind you; they also let Al Horford get 15 rebounds. Not throwing shade toward him, but Horford is towards the end of his career. With how young some of the players are on Brooklyn they should not let that happen.
Shifting back to defense, statistically, the Celtics were the better team. Yes, I said both of the team’s stats are similar. However, they limited the Nets to only 42-78 from the field. Not to mention they kept Durant in check nearly the whole game.
There’s still a lot more to see and analyze with this series and I can’t wait to watch more.
by Jeffrey Sampson | Mar 3, 2022 | General
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens Photos
So a few days ago, I saw a post made by an Instagram account named Best Celebrations. The post said having an elite tight end is more valuable than having an elite wide receiver. I somewhat agree because there are examples of elite tight ends surrounded by good to mediocre-at-best receivers in the NFL that had success. However, having an elite wide receiver is just as beneficial because they’re the leading scorers in the passing game.
My first example of this is the Baltimore Ravens. Mark Andrews this year is statistically the best tight end in the league and on his team. Andrews this year had a total of 1361 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He also averaged about 12.7 yards per catch which are 12th among tight ends, and led all tight ends in targets/receptions.
It’s also important to realize that Andrews played in a run-first offense and had to toggle between two quarterbacks. His fellow receivers were also all ranked statistically below the top 20 receivers. Marquise Brown was the only receiver on the stat sheet that barely cracked over a thousand yards, and it’s important to note that every receiver on the Ravens had less than double the amount Brown had this year.
Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images
With that in mind, the Ravens finished 8-9 and the bottom of the AFC North.
The Green Bay Packers are a perfect example of how an elite receiver can elevate the offense. Yes, they have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but even without him, the Packer’s offense can still succeed because they have that go-to man in the passing game with Davante Adams. Adams, this year was the fifth-best receiver in the league statistically. He had 1553 yards with 11 touchdowns. Everyone else had less than double the yards in that receiving core in a similar situation as the Ravens. The second-leading receiver in yards was Allen Lazard, with 553 receiving yards. Not to mention their tight end Robert Tonyan had 204 yards though he suffered an ACL tear this season. However, with Marcedes Lewis, it still doesn’t equate to the amount all three receivers put up this season on the packers.
To further my point on how an elite tight end can be more valuable, they can be used in the run game. A prime example of how an offense strives from a blocking tight end is George Kittle. This year the San Francisco Forty-Niners ran way less than previous years; they still proved to be dominant, ranking in the top 10 in rushing yards with almost 500 attempts, which isn’t bad considering that the Titans lead the league in rushing attempts at 550.
George Kittle, however, is the most versatile tight end in the NFL, and truth be told, is the best blocking tight end to add to that. Most times than not, his run blocking creates success whether the ball is in Deebos hands or Elijah Mitchells.
Overall, much of the Niner’s success has come from Kittle being on the field alongside Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and more.
In conclusion, it all comes down to how the offense is run and who fits the personnel. You have successful teams with an elite tight end, and you have ones that achieve it.
by Jeffrey Sampson | Feb 10, 2022 | General
With the recent trade for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two first-round picks, in exchange, the nets have sent shooting guard James Harden and forward Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers. So what does this mean for the Nets?
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 16: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the first half against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center on January 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
For one, it means that their nine game losing streak could come to an end but nothing is guaranteed in the NBA. Simmons hasn’t played a game since last years playoff run against the Hawks where his performance was subpar at best but ultimately hurt the sixers in the end losing the series 4-3.
However, personnel-wise the Nets have gotten a little bit better. Why? Well, because the Nets got bigger. This new lineup can consist of Kyrie Irving/Patty Mills/ Seth curry, Patty Mills/Seth Curry, Kevin Durant/Ben Simmons at the 3 or 4 spot, depending on how Nash sets up the lineup, and now Andre Drummond starting at the center.
For the 76ers this is huge because now they have an all-star caliber guard without having to give up anything too major aside from draft capital. Their new lineup can consist of James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid. Sixers fans can only hope that with Harden acquired they can finally make a push for the finals after getting knocked out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals almost every year.
But again what does this mean for the Nets? Brooklyn can either get worse or be the team that every fan and analyst knows they are. With Irving’s part-time availability heavily affecting the team in a negative way, the Nets can either finish this year strong and make a push for the playoffs or tank the rest of the season and put those two first-rounders to use.
by Jeffrey Sampson | Jan 3, 2022 | General
With the recent news of Kyrie Irving making a part-time return to the NBA, what will this mean for the Nets? To go into deeper detail about the circumstances for his return, Irving will only be playing away games where he’s eligible to play. But, how can this affect the Nets?
On Sunday, Kyrie Irving made 10 of his 11 shots in his return to the Nets. Credit…Kathy Willens/Associated Press
The positives of this situation are that opposing teams have to gameplan for James Harden, Patty Mills, and Kyrie Irving in the one spot, which can complicate things. Another positive is that the nets are currently the second seed without him, and now with him, there’s a strong possibility that they can retake the first seed. To add to my last point, Irving’s overall impact and presence can now take less pressure from Harden and Kevin Durant, the team-leading scorers. With the Nets star trio back and healthy, this can still be the best team in the east and possibly the league. Lastly, since he can practice, he can help look at the scout team during home practices.
However, there are negative possibilities in his return, and one of them is chemistry issues. Irving’s last recorded game was during last year’s playoff run against the Bucks in game 4 in the Eastern semi-finals. So it’s been roughly seven months since being with the team, which can cause a few issues, especially since they’ve signed and lost people since then. He hasn’t played with a team and has only been doing private practices on his own, so going from being acclimated to only yourself to playing with a team is a significant change. A second issue is his availability. Since he’s only available for away games, this can cause personnel problems. For example, if Patty Mills got injured before a home game, the Nets would have to put Harden back at the one and bring someone up from the bench and or sign out of free agency to fill back in that spot. Finally, a major problem I can see possibly coming is in the playoffs. When the postseason comes around, will Irving’s availability be the same, and will that become an issue for the organization? Especially with the rampant Omicron variant, there’s a slight chance Irving’s part-time availability with the team can get shut down.
At the end of the day, these are all speculations on what can happen soon as he returns to play on January 5th.
by Jeffrey Sampson | Nov 29, 2021 | General
With the fourth-best record in the NBA, the Nets sit at the top of the eastern conference at 14-6. With KD averaging almost 30 points per game, the Nets look nearly unstoppable. Unstoppable may be an overstatement with the number of problems that can hurt them in the long run as the season progresses.
One of the main problems on the Nets is getting rebounds. They’re currently 22nd in the league for total rebounds and in dead last for offensive rebounds. Running a small ball lineup, the Net’s two tallest players on the court is Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. Out of those two, you’d probably expect one of them to lead their team in rebounds. But, trust me, it’s not. The current team leader in rebounds is James Harden averaging 7.9 rebounds a game. He averaged the most rebounds on the team ahead of Deandre Jordan last season, averaging 8.5 rebounds a game and staying on track from the previous season against the Bucks during the playoffs. They had a total of 47 offensive rebounds, 256 defensive rebounds, which adds up to about 303 total rebounds. In comparison, the Bucks had 74 offensive rebounds, 260 defensive rebounds, and 334 rebounds overall.
This team is also struggling on the defensive end, being 27th in steals and 10th in blocks. Though it’s still early in the season, the Nets are still one of the league’s worst defensive teams. It’s bad enough that they dropped three spots since last year in the block average. The Nets this year average 6.9 steals per game and 5.3 blocks per game. The team’s current steal leader is Bruce Brown, with 1.4 steals per game. What makes things worse is that LaMarcus Aldridge, who just came out of retirement who had to retire mid-season last year because of health reasons, is now their block leader with 1.1 blocks per game, which is barely better than their block leader in the previous year, Kevin Durant, with 1.3 blocks per game. You know a team is terrible at defense when not only are their defensive stats one of the worst in the league, a bench player is one of the defensive stat leaders on the team, but also when you’re 15th in the league for personal fouls and 10th for the allowing the most points scored.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Yes, this team is good, but their flaws are apparent, and it will hurt them again when the postseason comes around. Although the Nets are good on offense, it’s not by much being 11th in the league for scoring despite their record. It’s still early in the season, but that’s not an excuse for being poor in certain areas.