The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Denver 122, Nets 94: Unacceptable

I’ve caught the Nets twice now this year (the Charlotte game and this one), and haven’t written on them so far since there’s no real good reason to overreact to a few early games for a team with so many players out. That said, tonight was very telling: the Nuggies came out flat and disinterested and exhibiting all the symptoms of a good team which had this game circled on its schedule as a glorified scrimmage where a half-assed effort was likely to be good enough. To their credit the Nets more or less made them pay for this in the first half by keeping it close, but Denver got the hair dryer from George Karl at halftime and pulled away from there with ease to the point where the 4th quarter was entirely garbage time. In essence, one quarter in 4 of serious effort from Denver was good enough for a blowout. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the word is out that the Nets aren’t just a mediocre team, not just a bad team, but one who won’t even give you a game as often as not; a bit of a joke, really. There’s few things harder to watch than a team which is treated as a bit of a joke, and regardless of who’s out, the Nets are now officially into must-do-better territory.

No one expected them to be good this year, but there’s a level of respectability- professionalism, really-which they shouldn’t sink below either. This is two games in a row now where the wheels have come off entirely in the second half, not because of brilliant tactical adjustments by opposing coaches but simply because the instant the opposition began playing up to their actual talent level the Nets crumbled. They get spooked easily, they’re young and play like it, they’ve got a few incredibly selfish players (Hi Rafer), they’re (as of right now, not counting the Denver game I assume) 28th in the league in offensive efficiency, 18th in defensive, dead rat’s-ass-dirt-worst last in rebound rate, 26th in TS%, 23rd in TO’s… the list goes on and on. They’re not one of the uniquely or unusually bad teams which the league throws up sometimes, the kind who have a distinct flaw which can be addressed, or who are so bad that they’re guaranteed a top-3 draft pick; there’s too much talent here to finish with less than 20 wins, but so long as most of it is injured what’s left is a team which is pretty much bad at everything for the moment. All of which is to say: there’s no magic bullet here, and the only way this is going to get better is if the guys who are taking the court right now get together and learn how to play better as individuals and as a team in all phases of the game, out of pride if nothing else. Start with taking fewer contested 20 footers early in the shot clock without a single pass, and go from there. There’s just not much more to say: right now this is an ordinary average 20-25 win terrible basketball team, dreadful to watch.

Fun fact: CDR led the Nets in scoring in this game, and also finished with a team-worst -36 in 36 minutes. Make of that what you will.


November 4, 2009 - Posted by | The Nets |

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