The Next Steps for Sean Kilpatrick

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12: Sean Kilpatrick
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12: Sean Kilpatrick /

The Brooklyn Nets announced that they would pick up Sean Kilpatrick’s team option on Thursday. While the Cincinnati alum has a place as a wing scorer for the Nets, there are ways for him to further his role.

Sean Kilpatrick will be one of Brooklyn’s scorers off the bench for another season. While there was a slight dip in his numbers last season, Kilpatrick proved himself to be a reliable offensive option. In fact, he showed just how lethal of a scorer he could be last March with three consecutive 20-plus point games.

Although he regressed at the tail end of the season, Kilpatrick showed that he had the potential to be an effective scorer in the NBA. But he still needs to improve on several key aspects of his game.

For one, he needs to improve his three-point shooting. We know Kilpatrick has range. After all, 41.9 percent of all his field goals were threes. But he is not particularly efficient from the arc. His 34.1 percent clip marks him with the seventh best three-point percentage on the team last season.

It is troubling to see that he is staying steady at the 34 percent mark, averaging it his past two seasons. It is even more worrisome when you consider that he’s entering his prime without any real improvement as a Net.

There is hope. Kilpatrick only attempted 4.4 triples last season and a bump in that number could help him progress as a shooter.

While Brooklyn is no stranger to lackluster defense, Kilpatrick was particularly bad. He tied Spencer Dinwiddie as the fourth worst defender on the Ne

ts, each with a 112 defensive rating. On the bright side, Kilpatrick was fourth on the team in defensive win shares last season with 1.1.

The potential is there. He posted his second best steal rate last season, swiping the ball 1.2 percent of all possessions he played. If he were to double that, he would have the highest steal percentage on the Nets.

But the biggest step Kilpatrick can take is to improve his consistency. For the 28 15-point outings he had, Kilpatrick nearly had as many games with less than 10 points with 23, not including games where he played less than 10 minutes.

Last season, Kilpatrick offset his streakiness with an ability to get to the line. In a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 3, Kilpatrick scored 19 points despite going 3-for-13 from the field. Most of his points came at the line, where he went 12-for-13. In a March 6 win against the Memphis Grizzlies, Kilpatrick only shot the ball six times and still scored 23 points after going 16-for-17 from the the charity stripe.

If he uses that ability to draw fouls more often, his minutes would likely increase as well. It would also allow him to slash more often, which is when he is most effective.

Next: What Should the Nets Do if they miss out on Otto Porter?

It will be interesting to see how the Nets could adjust their lineup if Kilpatrick improves. If they were to play him, Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell at the same time, we could see the latter two run the offense together. After all, neither needs the balls in their hands to be an effective part of the offense like Kilpatrick does.