One Team, One Stat: No defense in Brooklyn

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Brooklyn Nets, who took the ball out of the basket too often.


Opponents of the Brooklyn Nets had an effective field goal percentage of 53.4 percent, the highest opponent mark in the league last season.


In fact, in the last 19 seasons (since 1998-99), only the 2014-15 Minnesota Timberwolves allowed a higher effective field goal percentage (53.7 percent).

The Nets led the league in opponent free throw rate, putting their opponents on the line only 23 times for every 100 shots from the field. That’s important, but not nearly as critical as forcing the other team to miss those shots from the field. Nets opponents had the league’s second highest field goal percentage (57.9 percent) in the paint and the highest effective field goal percentage (49.3 percent) from outside the paint.

The Nets’ defense was particularly brutal after coach Lionel Hollins was fired in January (not that it was great before that), allowing their opponents to shoot better than 49 percent and score 111.7 points per 100 possessions over their last 45 games.

Overall, the Nets allowed their opponents to shoot 50 percent or better in 30 games, tied for the most in the league. And they won just one of those 30. Only one team – New York, 0-12 – won fewer games when allowing their opponent to make at least half of its shots.

Brook Lopez is a decent rim protector, but not the quickest pick-and-roll defender out there. Last season, the Nets allowed 106.3 points per 100 possessions with Lopez on the floor and 111.9 with him on the bench. The first number isn’t good, but the on-off differential (5.7) was the 11th biggest among players that logged at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.

There’s some promise in the defensive numbers (only 99.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) when Lopez was on the floor with rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson last season. But with Hollis-Jefferson playing just 29 games, that was a total of 358 minutes, a small sample size. And Thaddeus Young (traded to the Indiana Pacers this summer) was also on the floor for most (285) of those minutes.

As a whole, the Nets’ new frontline – Lopez, Trevor Booker, Justin Hamilton and Luis Scola – isn’t very mobile, which could be a big problem with new coach Kenny Atkinson looking to play an aggressive style of defense. Atkinson comes from Atlanta, where the Hawks ranked second defensively last season (first against the league’s top-10 offenses).

The Nets have been a below-average defensive team for nine straight seasons, the second longest active streak (behind Sacramento – 10 seasons) in the league. If Atkinson can get them anywhere close to average on that end of the floor, they can somewhat make up for their talent deficiency.


Brooklyn bench players had an aggregate NetRtg of minus-10.4 points per 100 possessions, by far the worst mark in the league.

The Nets went 3-12 and were outscored by 6.3 points per 100 possessions when they had at least one day of rest and their opponents were on the second night of a back-to-back. That was the second worst record (Philadelphia was 1-7) and the worst NetRtg with a rest advantage.

According to SportVU, the Nets had the smallest difference in eFG% (3.4 percent) from the first 12 seconds of the shot clock (50.7 percent, 29th in the league) to the last 12 seconds of the shot clock (47.3 percent, 12th). The league average difference was 6.9 percent.

Lopez ranked second in effective field goal percentage (50.6 percent) among 27 players with at least 150 shots on post-ups, according to Synergy.

Lopez grabbed 16.7 percent of available defensive rebounds while he was on the floor. That ranked 64th among 74 centers who played at least 40 games last season. But the Nets were a much better defensive rebounding team (grabbing 77.1 percent of available defensive boards) with Lopez on the floor than they were with him on the bench (73.2 percent).

Jeremy Lin assisted on a career-low 18.9 percent of his possessions last season, down from 26.5 percent in 2014-15. That was the third biggest drop-off in assist ratio among players that logged at least 1,000 minutes both seasons.

Among that same group, Scola had the biggest drop-off in rebounding percentage, from 17.8 percent in ’14-15 to 13.0 percent in ’15-16. And among players that took at least 500 shots each of the last two seasons, Scola had the biggest increase in 3PA/FGA, from 3.1 percent to 26.9 percent, as well as the biggest drop-off in FTA/FGA, from 0.352 to 0.140.

Bojan Bogdanovic had an effective field goal percentage of 57.8 percent at home and 46.0 percent on the road. That (11.8%) was the biggest difference among 207 players with at least 200 FGA both at home and on the road.

According to SportVU, Sean Kilpatrick averaged 36.0 field goal attempts per 100 touches last season, the fifth most among 388 players with at least 500 touches.

The Nets are returning only five players from last year’s roster and only 31 percent of last year’s minutes. Both of those numbers are league lows.

NBA TV’s Nets preview premieres at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 20.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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