The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

It Still A Gwaan, Just Like An Ongoing Story

I have not written much on the Nets this season; after all, how often and in how many ways can you write “the team sucks, they lost, this season hurts like an angry beard of bees”? Well, actually, let’s find out:

Nets scoring average this season in 14 games: 85.1 per game.
Opponents’ average: 95.5.
Average margin of loss: 10.4

Smallest margin of Nets loss: 1 point (against Miami, Nov. 14)
Largest margin of Nets loss: 28 (against Denver, Nov. 4)

Best record of a Nets victor, as of now: Orlando, 11-3
Worst record of a Nets victor, as of now: Minnesota, 1-13 (yes, they could only beat the Nets… by 2 points)

Rank of the Nets’ leading scorer in PPG, in the league: 31st (Brook Lopez)
Rank of the Nets’ leading rebounder, in rebound rate: 33rd (Josh Boone)
Rank of the Nets’ leading assister, in assist ratio: 30th (Devin Harris)
Rank of the Nets’ leading shooter, in TS%: 103rd (Chris Douglas-Roberts)
Rank of the Nets’ leading PER producer: 66th (Chris Douglas-Roberts)
Number of teams in the league: 30

Games where Nets’ leading scorer had <20 points: 5

Nets team offensive rating: 89.8
League rank: 30
League leader: Phoenix, 112.2

Nets team defensive rating: 101.8
League rank: 13th
League leaders: Boston, 94.4
Sidenote: Defense wins championships, amirite?

Nets team TS%: 47.5
League rank: 30th
League leaders: Phoenix, 58.8
Sidenote: same position, leader and rank for eFG%

Nets team rebound rate: 48.8
League rank: 23rd
League leaders: Portland, 54.0

Nets team turnover rate: 26.9
League rank: 27th
League leaders: Atlanta, 20.6

Nets team assist ratio: 11.2
League rank: 30th
League leaders: Boston, 17.3

Nets team pace: 22nd in league

…And there you have it, really: an average defensive team with a slow, turgid, worst-in-the-league offense holding them down and losing them game after game in horrifically boring fashion. There's fewer blowouts here than you might expect, and given that defense is often a proxy for effort it's pretty clear the team hasn't given up. That's heartening so far as it goes, especially since when young teams get beaten down like this it often escalates into full-blown chaos and self-destruction. Their trouble is, well, at the NBA level they're a pretty terrible collection of offensive players once you factor in the injuries and such. Is it Larry Frank's fault? Depends how you look at it. Keeping a team playing hard and well at 0-14 is difficult to do and impressive for a coach. On the other hand, in Frank's full seasons in charge of the team the Nets' offensive rating has placed 26th, 25th, 16th, 25th, and 16th. That's not so good. Their defensive ratings in that time span have gone 7th, 4th, 15th, 21st, and 24th as well. Much of the defensive decline you can likely ascribe to changes of personnel, but given that Frank consistently produced below-average offensive teams with Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson on them, it's more than fair to question exactly what he's contributing (or not) to the current state of affairs.

Should he go? Ironically, Frank would to my mind be the exact kind of coach you'd like to bring into a situation like this as a caretaker- good motivator, professional demeanor and demands such of his players, tends to maintain emotional balance in rough times; a steady hand at the wheel. And yet, for all of that, the blight on this season continues unabated by anything he's said or done. Sometimes a team just needs a new voice, and someone can be a good or even great coach who just doesn't fit anymore. I don't know if the team has tuned him out precisely, but if RodandKiki get that sense… well, yes, he should probably go. For many reasons he's not the kind of coach who would be likely to lead the next serious Nets team (small reputation, too defensive, too slow-paced in his offense, etc.), which means he's going to go sooner or later. If a reasonable caretaker can be found to keep the team motivated, tweak the offense and generally mind the store until a long-term solution can be brought over for the Brooklyn move, then this is the time to do it, before this becomes an all-time awful season. I honestly think money and the desire to not pay two coaches at once is part of what's kept Frank in his job so long, and now that it looks like the Nets are officially going to be owned by a crazy Russian billionaire, it's probably worth some money to him to ensure that his team doesn't enter a crucial free-agency summer as a league-wide laughing stock which has just set records for futility.

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November 25, 2009 - Posted by | The Nets |

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