The Nets Are Scorching

Final Possession Against The Celtics Broken Down

Probably like all Nets fans, I had my heart in my throat during the final seconds of the game yesterday against the Celtics.  After taking some time to breath, I decided to look at the possession and break it down.

pos-start-iso

We start the possession off with 15 seconds left, and we are in an ISO set with Vince Carter with the ball.  On the left side facing the basket, we got an overload with Dooling behind the arc on the wing.  Bobby Simmons is in the deep corner, and Brook is in the post (For a potential tap in).  Devin Harris is the lone player on the right side and he is in the deep corner.  Now the decision to give Vince the ball in an iso set is an easy one, especially tonight.  He put up 31 points, and hit a big three a few moments before hand.  I also like seeing three shooters setting up for a drive and kick.  It is also smart to put Brook on the post, because if you go for the win (Which you have to assume the Nets are thinking about – you don’t want to go to OT with the Celtics), Brook is there for a tap in.

vince-hip

While making his move, Vince gets a step on Paul Pierce, and everything is looking great for Nets fans.  Rondo is attached to Devon Harris, and this leaves a huge lane for VC to drive into.  The floor spacing is great too.  The only player that seems to be in position to stop Vince if he drives is Ray Allen.  That would leave Bobby Simmons wide open for a game winning three…VINCE CARTER NEEDS TO KEEP HIS DRIBBLE AND DRIVE THE BALL INTO THE LANE…only good things can happen from this…instead…

vince-jumperVince settles with a jumper.  Now a jumper is fine in this case.  You got Peirce on your hip, pull up and shoot it.  Paul won’t be able to contest the shot too much.  But Vince made a step back move, and as you can see by the still, Paul Pierce now gets a hand in VC’s face, and this is a tough shot.  Watching this live, it kinda looked like Vince was stepping back in an attempt to get behind the three point line.  If that’s the case, I understand trying to win the game with a 3, but he needs to know where he is on the court.  This is just a long 2.

vince-rebound

Vince misses the jumper, and Brook does a fantastic job of fighting off two Celtics to get a hand on the ball and tap it out.  Vince gains possesion of the basketball, and the Celtics defense is all out of whack.  As I beautiully show, Ray Allen pretty much has to cover three solid three point shooters as Rondo and Pierce hawk Vince Carter.  We still have 7 seconds left, so if Carter swings the ball as soon as he gets possession of it, we are going to get a wide open three point shot from either Devin Harris, Bobby Simmons, or Keyon Dooling…instead…

vince-corner

Vince dribbles into the corner and jumps up in the air with the ball.  The gives the Celtics enough time to regroup and match-up with the Nets’ previously open shooters.

devin-catch

To his credit, Vince gets off a pretty spectacular pass considering the circumstances, and he finds Devin Harris.  Harris catches the ball ready to shoot.  It is a little deeper than you would like shoot from, but it is a somewhat open shot (Rajon is closing out, but he won’t get back in time to challenge the shot too much), and it needs to be shot…instead…

devin-tough-shot

Devin Harris pump fakes, takes a side dribble, and puts up a contested shot.  Now I know what Devin was trying to do with that move, he sees Rajon closing out, and pump fakes with the hopes of seeing Rajon running by out of control so he can get a wide open shot.  You have to credit Rajon here, he closed out under control, and he was able to contest the shot.  It’s a good thought process, but you need to take the original shot there Devin.  What he did was take a open shot (by NBA standards) and turned it into a contested one.  I don’t have to tell you guys what happens next…Devin missed the three, and the ball rolled away harmlessly.  Here is the video of the possession:

Now there are a couple things we could have done differently from the start.  First we could have went with a pick and roll with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, it seemed like that was working for most of the night.  As I said earlier though, I am not going to completly second guess that move, and Iso for the man who already dropped 31 is a good move too.  I guess you can’t take the ball out of Vince’s hand there.  What you can do if you are Lawrence Frank though is emphasize that we want a lay-up or a 3.  Not some long contested 2.  I love Vince, he’s my favorite Net, but he seems to settle for way too many jumpers, and this is just another example.  You have a player who is slower than you (Paul Pierce) on your hip, you take it to the rim.  The court was spaced in such a beautiful manner that nobody would have been able to challenge his lay-up.

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April 9, 2009 Posted by | Analysis, Bobby Simmons, Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Keyon Dooling, Play Breakdown, Vince Carter | 2 Comments

Saturday vs. The Magic Will Be “Brookie Night”

Brookie

Saturday Night’s game at home against the Magic is now officially “Brookie Night.”  Brookie, that is so awesome, I wish I would have come up with that.  The Nets, who are continuing their Brook Lopez for ROY campaign, will be giving out the above T-Shirts to the first 500 fans in attendence Saturday Night*.  I was thinking about going to see this game anyway (Brook vs. Dwight should be a great matchup – Skip vs. Devin Harris too), but now I think I have to go and get one of these shirts, the comic book cover style looks awesome!  It is going to be a great collector’s item when he wins the Rookie of the Year.

The first 500 Toyotas to pull up also get’s free parking…

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Awards, Brook Lopez, Fan Promotions, Man Crush, Rookies | 4 Comments

David Thorpe Gives Out Awards

I know it seems like this is a Brook Lopez blog more than a Nets blog as of late, but David Thorpe, a writer for ESPN, gave out his awards for the rookie class this year, and Brook Lopez was all over them.  Brook was mentioned for:

  • Defensive Rookie Of The Year
  • Biggest Surprise of the Class
  • All Defensive Team
  • All Rookie First Team

I know this is just one guy’s opinion, but it is awesome to see Brook getting the respect he deserves!

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Awards, Brook Lopez, Man Crush, Rookies | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brook Lopez Will Be Rookie Of The Year

.With the season winding down, and the Nets no longer in contention for the final playoff spot, a lot of talk about the Nets have revolved around Brook Lopez and whether or not he is going to be the Rookie Of The Year.  Brook definitely has a good shot at winning this (and the Nets must think so as well, because they have put out a promotional video, highlighting some of his stats and showing some of his biggest highlights), but he does have competition, and that competition is Derrick Rose.  In the end, one of these two players are going to win ROY, so I am going to compare these two and show you who I think should win Rookie Of The Year (hint it’s Brook) and who will win it.

Why Brook Should Win It:

The numbers.  Brook has been a solid producer from the get go and when it comes to rookie big men, this is a rarity.  Brook has started 70 of the team’s 77 games, and averages 30.5 minutes a game.  In those minutes, he is averaging 13 points a game (which is 6th among all rookies), and 7.9 rebounds a game (which is 2nd among all rookies).  Brook is also the only rookie with over 100 blocks (139 to be exact), while averaging over 1 block per game (1.8 to be exact).  Among all NBA players (not just rookies, the whole NBA), Brook is 7th in total blocks and 10th in blocks per game.  Also, for what it is worth, Brook is in the top 20 of all rookies in assists (1.1 per game), so he is getting the job done in all facets of his game.  Brook is 3rd among all rookies in double-doubles, and his shooting percentage (53.2%) is 6th among rookies, but of rookies who are averaging over 10 shots per game, Brook leads in FG% (This in my opinion is very important.  It shows that Brook is good enough to get the touches, and when he does, he converts them).

Derrick’s numbers are not shabby at all, but in my opinion they just don’t compare.  Derrick is 2nd in PPG among all rookies with 16.6, and he is also first in assists with 6.2 (but that tends to happen when you are the starting PG for your team, and when he is out there, it is arguable that he is the first option for the Bulls.  Meanwhile, Brook is 3rd option for the Nets on good nights…).  Other than that, Brook has him topped in all other categories (and this is with Derrick playing about 6 more minutes per game than Brook).

The final and in my opinion most important stat is PER, and this too shows Brook is more productive than Derrick with the time he is being given.  If you don’t know what PER is, you can find out more about it here, but basically it is a per-minute assessment of players (and it is also pace-adjusted as well).  Brook is 4th among rookies with a 17.87 PER (he is only behind Marreese Speights, Kevin Love, and Greg Oden).  Derrick Rose is 9th on the list with a PER of 15.66.  Another efficiency stat that I looked at was VA or Value Added (this number is the estimated number of points a player adds to a team’s season total above what a “replacement player” (for instance, the 12th man on the roster) would produce. Value Added = ([Minutes * (PER – PRL)] / 67). PRL (Position Replacement Level) = 11.5 for power forwards, 11.0 for point guards, 10.6 for centers, 10.5 for shooting guards and small forwards).  Brook leads all rookies with a VA of 254.7 (Derrick Rose is 4th with 194.6).  The final effciency stat that I looked at was EWA or Estimated Wins Added (Like Value Added, Estimated Wins Added takes a look at how many wins a player was worth above what a “replacement player” would contribute.  Estimated Wins Added is Value Added divided by 30, giving the estimated number of wins a player adds to a team’s season total above what a “replacement player” would produce).  Brook leads all rookies in EWA with 8.5 (Derrick Rose is 4th with 6.5).  These stats show that Brook is overall more effective with the minutes he receives, and that he is worth 3 whole wins more to his team than D. Rose is.

Why Derrick Should Win It

Success of his team.  While the Nets contended for a playoff spot until later in the season, Derrick Rose has been running point for a Bulls squad that has pretty much locked up a playoff spot (Most analysts didn’t have them even sniffing at the playoffs), and they are even challenging for the 7th or 6th (which may be a stretch)  seed.  Despite individual awards being handed out based on individual achievments, it would be naive to think that the people handing out the hardware won’t look at team performence.  This is especially true for the Rookie of The Year award.

So Who Will Win It?

You already know that I think Brook should win it, but who WILL win it?  If you want my honest opinion, it is going to be a tough call and you can really go either way with this one.  I decided to look at the trends to see how the award has been given out recently.  Looking at ROY award winners since 2001, only 3 have been guards.  The winning team trend has also been broken, none of the winners in the 2000s has lead their team to the playoffs.  This looks good for Brook, and I think in the end his production will be too much to overlook, and he will end up winning the ROY.  If Derrick Rose wins it you can’t get too mad though, he had a great season and did lead the Bulls to the playoffs.  There is even a possibility for a co-ROY, but if they didn’t do it when Carmelo and LeBron were rookies, I don’t see them doing it now.

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Brook Lopez, Offseason, Offseason Awards, Rookies | , , | 2 Comments

Brook Lopez For Rookie Of Year

This is an awesome video put out by the Nets to promote Brook Lopez to win the Rookie Of The Year:

Now just to clear something up, there was supposed to be music accompaining this post, but apparently YouTube took it out because it was Metallica (update:  The sound works when it is posted on this site, but not when you are on the YouTube page)…no I am not joking.  Anyway the video is awesome and makes some great points for Brook winning the ROY.  Later today, I am going to get into this topic in depth.

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Brook Lopez, Videos | , , | 2 Comments