Brooklyn Nets: Why the team outperforms expectations

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 7: D' Angelo Russell
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 7: D' Angelo Russell /
4 of 5
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 29: DeMarre Carroll
ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 29: DeMarre Carroll /

New Weapons

When Marks hired Atkinson, he had a vision. He saw a direction for the team in place. Marks wanted a culture that Atkinson could instill in his players, and use to build a winning franchise.

A year and a half later, we can see the front office duos’ vision vividly. They wanted to build a three point shooting, fast paced team that plays hard-nosed defensive. Now, Atkinson has started to gain a cavalry to aid him in this goal. With new additions such as Russell, Allen Crabbe and DeMarre Carroll, there are weapons present for Atkinson to fire with.

The Nets have been terrible in crunch time these past few seasons. While they have seen a number of clutch and game-winning shots, those were a rare occurrence. Now with their new franchise guard, Russell, clutch situations take a turn for the better. Russell has been great in clutch situations, even hitting a number of shots against his now-current team.

Now that the Nets have a player to go to in the clutch with Russell, they can finally put together full games. In the last few years, the Nets play one half, or three quarters in multiple games. When it comes to crunch time and the final stretch, they have choked multiple times. So with Russell, Lin, Crabbe and Carroll as viable players to handle late game situations, crunch time shouldn’t be a problem.

It seems Russell will be looked at as the guy to make the big shots. Crabbe can also be a late game, big shot option. As far as Lin and Carroll go, while they have made clutch shots throughout their careers, they will seemingly be looked at as the distributors and veterans in crunch time. Both of the veterans can give advice and good looks to the shooters on the floor in final stretch of the game. Veterans are important to have in these moments to keep the team calm and composed while either trying to gain or hold on to the lead in the final minutes or seconds of the contest.

Last season the Nets relied heavily on their veterans in close games. However, not for the reasons they will this year. Veterans Randy Foye and Brook Lopez hitting big shots helped propel the team to victory in the waning moments of the game. Lin also had a number of clutch moments last season. While Lin hit no buzzer beaters, when healthy, he had to keep his young players composed, while also being relied on to make the big play.

Now with weapons like Russell and Crabbe, he can help relay coach Atkinson’s play and message while keeping the team cool. If Lin and Carroll can play defense as well as the team expects them to, they can take a step back, and let the young shooters around them do their thing.