For Brooklyn It’s Simple: Stick With What’s Working


The Brooklyn Nets are going with an approach that more teams in the NBA should start to emulate. The approach seems simple, but it is not seen too often around the league. The aforementioned approach that I am talking about is going with the hot hand. It doesn’t matter if the hot hand is a rookie or an unknown veteran, if a player is performing at a high level and is helping his team get wins he should get minutes. The Nets have won six of their last seven games and they have done so without starting their $98 Million Dollar man Deron Williams.

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Williams has come off the bench for the Nets and while some people would take offense to the benching, Williams has not let it get to him and he has shown a team first attitude. Williams isn’t the only max player on Brooklyn’s bench. Brook Lopez has also been playing in the Nets second unit lately. Lopez started versus the Chicago Bulls because Kevin Garnett sat out due to rest and Lopez scored 29 big points to help lead Brooklyn to a huge win over a Bulls team that has been a thorn in Brooklyn’s side for years.

After Lopez’s dominant showing there was speculation that he would remain in the starting lineup for good, but Lionel Hollins didn’t want to change any of Brooklyn’s momentum so he remained with the Nets staple lineup of Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Mason Plumlee for the Nets next game against the Magic. The Nets held on to beat the Magic and off the bench Williams had 16 points and 7 assists in 29 minutes of action, while Brook Lopez had 16 points and 8 rebounds in 17 minutes of action.

Although they’re not starting, Lopez and Williams are still having a major impact on the game and that’s what makes this Nets rotation so lethal. Having Lopez and Williams come off the bench leaves them being guarded by far inferior second unit players which gives the Nets a major advantage. The Nets starting unit is clicking, so it makes no sense to kill the positive momentum that the new look starting five has provided.

Mason Plumlee has emerged into a dynamic force since being inserted into the starting lineup, Jarrett Jack has played tremendous basketball, Joe Johnson is now the Nets main offensive weapon which allows for him to operate in his sweet spot the low-post, Sergey Karasev has quietly played great, smart basketball for the Nets and last but not least Kevin Garnett is a passionate, hard working old man who still can knock down an 18 foot jump-shot nine out of ten times. In the Nets game against the Magic on Friday night, Garnett also let everyone know numerous times that he’s good.

The Nets recent hot streak has brought them back to the .500 mark(16-16) and an unorthodox starting lineup has weirdly enough done the trick. Lionel Hollins has shown all year long that he doesn’t care about what a player has done in past stints in his career, whoever is helping the team win basketball games will see playing time. It’s a strategy not seen too much anymore in this current generation and it is proving to work wonders for the Nets.

Not too many coaches would have the guts to have their teams second and third highest paid players come off of the bench but Hollins has done it and it has worked out so far. A win on Sunday versus the Miami Heat would put Brooklyn over .500 and in an anemic Eastern Conference if Brooklyn keeps this up they will continue to rise in the standings. They are currently tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference with a familiar foe Jason Kidd and his Milwaukee Bucks.

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