Despite enduring a coaching change just 28 games into the season, the Brooklyn Nets amassed 31 wins prior to the All-Star break -- tied for fourth-most in franchise history. Still, they aren't satisfied. Here's five things they need to work on in the second half:
1. MORE CONSISTENCY FROM BROOKLYN'S BACKCOURT
Nets GM Billy King called Deron Williams and Joe Johnson the NBA's best backcourt during a preseason news conference. But D-Will and Iso Joe have failed to live up to that billing in 2012-13. Both players' statistics are down across the board. The duo has better chemistry than it did at the beginning of the year. Still, there is work to be done. The Nets would be much better off if Williams and Johnson could rediscover their All-Star caliber forms in the final 29 games. Much of that depends on whether D-Will's injured ankles hold up.
2. PLAY BETTER AGAINST THE BEST
The Nets are just 13-20 against .500-or-better teams (at time of game played); Eleven of those 20 losses are by 10 or more points. As players have pointed out, the Nets have not done a good job of countering when good teams hit them with big runs. Given that they want to be an elite team, playing better against the best teams in the league is a must.
3. LESS STAGNATION ON OFFENSE
The Nets rank 20th in the league in scoring, averaging 95.2 points per game. They are 11th in offensive efficiency, but last in pace. The Nets prefer to play a half-court oriented style, and rarely score in transition. At times, that can be problematic. The Nets' offense looked phenomenal on Wednesday night. They had perfect spacing, were swinging the ball around the perimeter and rarely used isolation plays. It's easy for the Nets to fall into the trap where they let Johnson and Brook Lopez go 1-on-1 while everyone else stands around and watches. That can be effective, but it can also lead to long scoring droughts.
4. DISCOVER AN IDENTITY
According to interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and his players, the Nets have yet to forge an identity. And they don’t have much time to find one. It seems like they're at their best when they're playing tenacious defense and getting timely buckets on offense, while keeping their turnovers to a minimum. It's important that they figure out who they want to be before the playoffs begin.
5. DEVELOP A ROTATION
Carlesimo always talks about the fact that he’s had trouble developing a rotation. Brooklyn’s bench has been an asset some of the time, and a liability other times. The Nets have a lot of talent on the bench, but it’s hard for their reserves to be consistent when their minutes are so sporadic. Just ask MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic.