Nets 3-0 preseason start masking team's defensive deficiencies

Eric Webb

To improve to 3-0 on the preseason, the Brooklyn Nets came out on top once again with a 91-77 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers in China.

As we inch closer to opening night of the regular season, coach Atkinson didn’t run his starters as much as he did in their last game against the Lakers on Thursday, but will still able to get a solid win against the team that many people have winning it all this year, and once again this is with the Lakers’ starters playing significant minutes.

One good sign for the Nets is that from each preseason game to the next they’re building chemistry, and it shows on the floor with the way they’re flying around and the way they’re trust each other with the ball.

In their first three games Brooklyn is averaging 30.3 APG, including their first preseason game against France where they dished out 40 assists.

Another positive takeaway is their pacing in terms of offense. They’ve averaged 19.0 fast break points per game, and in Saturday’s game they outhustled the Lakers scoring 21 fast break points to their 9.

These are night and day numbers for a team whose rankings were very different last year. During the 2018-19 season the Nets ranked 22 in the league in fast break points per game, averaging 11.6. In pacing last season the Nets were pretty good, ranking 11 in the league, but there’s always room for improvement.

Last but not least, the most impressive team stat was that with the Lakers’ starters getting significant minutes, the Nets were still able to lead by 19 at one point. Things are clicking for them on the offensive side of the ball. Caris Levert was the leading scorer with 22 points, also dishing out 5 assists and grabbing 4 rebounds.

However, the defense needs to improve over the course of the season. Thus far in the preseason the Nets have held their opponents to an average of 38.7% FG, which is good, however in blocks and steals they’re right in the middle of the pack. They’ve been averaging 5.0 BPG, which was their same average from last year (ranking 16) and 10.6 SPG, which is pretty much identical to the 10.7 SPG they averaged last year (ranking 10). The Nets didn’t go out and get the players they got this offseason to just stay the same.