Brooklyn Nets vs Fenerbahce Ulker: Four Preseason Takeaways


May 1, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) drives between Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) and Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) during the second quarter of game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Rotation

The eight players that will get the majority of minutes should be Jarrett Jack, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and Thomas Robinson. Although Young didn’t start the game, common sense would lead us to believe that the Nets will start the player they claimed to be one of the franchise corner stones and top priorities of this past offseason. “Don’t read anything into Thaddeus Young coming off the bench. Not a 50 million dollar reserve.” Tweeted Nets expert Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN.) What probably puzzled most was the play of Shane Larkin over Donald Sloan. During his brief stint in Indiana last season, Sloan posted numerous triple doubles to the stat sheet. A feat not typically done by point guards. Larkin, who is widely looked at as unproven, got the first attempt at backup point guard duties. And what’s more perplexing is that Ryan Boatright also got into the game before Donald Sloan, further perpetuating the idea that Larkin has won the backup role over him.

2. Athleticism and Speed, New to Team

As expected, speed and athleticism is a new dimension of Brooklyn Nets on both ends of the floor. Several times throughout the game there were glimpses of a fast paced, high jumping Nets team that fans haven’t seen since Kenyon Martin wore the Nets’ uniform back in New Jersey. I’m looking at you, Thomas Robinson. (Keep in mind, this is only a reference to Robinson’s hyper athleticism, and not to any other similarity in the two’s games). Robinson was all over the place, including in the air for dunks and crashing into the floor after contact. If he embraces the role of the energetic garbage man, he truly has the opportunity to extend his NBA career. The Nets love players like that anyway, ie: Reggie Evans.

3. Brook for Three

Brook Lopez really does have the green light to take threes this year. It’s a small sample size, but Lopez did take, and make, a three during the preseason game against Fenerbahce. What’s more important is not the fact that he shot it, but the manner in which he did. In rhythm, with good lift (for Lopez, who usually doesn’t get very far off the ground vertically), and a smooth looking shooting stroke. It didn’t look like he was hoisting the ball up, or shooting a shot he was uncomfortable with. Seems like he’s been working on some new things this offseason. “Brook Lopez has the green light from three point range and jokes that he’s going to take 600 this season” says another tweet from Mike Mazzeo.

4. Nets’ Defense Needs Improvement

The Nets still need work on their defense. Losing Alan Anderson this offseason certainly doesn’t help the defensive intensity in Brooklyn. Very often the defensive cavalry off the bench, there still is no sign of Anderson’s replacement, as far as energy and hustle. The Nets gave up uncontested shot after uncontested shot. Most notably was the wide-open three pointer they gave up at the buzzer to end the first half. When asked what needed improvement in the post game interview, Joe Johnson referred to defense. Coach Lionel Hollins did the same. It’s no secret, and hopefully with practice, the defensive rotations will come.

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