Scouting Report: Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets have gotten off to a slow start this season but are playing well since the turn of the calendar year, going 2-0 in 2014 that includes a win in Oklahoma City.
The Nets are in a similar position as the Hawks in that they lost their starting center to a season-ending injury. Brook Lopez was leading the team in scoring before hurting his foot, and Brooklyn is still trying to find the right pieces to replace him. They’ve started Reggie Evans at center, but he’s averaging fewer than three points per game. Evans is a monster on the glass but he’s more of a defensive threat than anything else.
Deron Williams has been in and out of the lineup dealing with injuries of his own, but he’s healthy now, and first-year head coach Jason Kidd’s offense is much more productive with him on the floor. Williams isn’t the quickest point guard, but he’s a great shooter and has the ability to make plays. Jeff Teague will have to put pressure on him to get him out of his comfort zone.
With Lopez down, the Nets’ biggest scoring threat is now former Hawk Joe Johnson. Hawks fans know what Johnson can do… specifically creating his own shot in a variety of ways. I imagine DeMarre Carroll will start on him, and he’ll have a tough task. Johnson shoots almost 40 percent from three and can attack the basket as well. And late in games, the ball is usually in his hands, so if it’s close, look for Kidd to ask him to make plays.
This season hasn’t been what Brooklyn envisioned so far, but it’s a long year, and they’re still just a few games away from being a playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference. Atlanta has an extremely difficult January schedule, so a win Monday is important as they’ll be hard to come by all month.
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