The Brooklyn Nets are likely going to have to overcome several obstacles in order to make a deep playoff run.
One of them, according to an NBA scout who spoke with ESPNNewYork.com, is their offense.
It’s not a bad offense, by any means; the Nets ranked 13th in efficiency in 2014.
It just doesn’t have a lot of variety.
“A lack of sophistication on offense, a lack of constant motion at times will hurt them at some point down the line. It may not be this series [against Toronto], but at some point the simplicity of their offense is going to catch up with them,” the scout said.
Since going to a smaller lineup, Jason Kidd’s Nets are intent on exploiting mismatches.
The main way they do that is by predominantly running what’s called “splits action” -- which was originally created by Rick Adelman and very similar to what Kidd’s former coach, Rick Carlisle, runs in Dallas.
Two wings are down by the corner 3 and two bigs are up each elbow by the foul line. The point guard can then pass the ball to one of the bigs before screening for the nearside guy in the corner (the side he passed to).
The key to this action is to get the ball in the middle of the floor in an effort to create options. It makes the defense choose between giving up a relatively open look to a shooter or making the defense susceptible to a lot of back cuts. It’s basically pick your poison between a slightly open 3-pointer or giving up a layup.
“They are constantly looking to post up their guards through splits action or a pick and roll, typically with two smalls,” the scout said. “It’s either through one of their three guards or [stretch forward] Paul Pierce. They’re just trying to get smaller guards switched on to one of their bigger guards for a post-up.
“They’re counting a lot of times on Joe Johnson being the guy in the post or teams fearing that and sending a second man at Joe. He then kicks it out and they can swing the ball around the perimeter to get an open look at a 3-pointer.”
“In the playoffs, often times your first look gets taken away, so you have to be a bit more creative,” the scout added. “When you don’t run a lot of complicated sets and actions, it becomes easy to defend. The Nets are going to lose if they can’t get a matchup in which Joe has a distinct size advantage in the post. If the defense doesn’t come and help, it’s going to be awful tough backing down a guard [of similar size].”
This is where Kidd has to adjust and get creative.