Have the Brooklyn Nets as a team improved from last season?

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Kenny Atkinson of the Brooklyn Nets has a conversation with D'Angelo Russell
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Kenny Atkinson of the Brooklyn Nets has a conversation with D'Angelo Russell /

The Brooklyn Nets have matched last season’s win total with 18 games left to play. In a previous post, we looked at the team’s defensive struggles from an analytical perspective. Here we examine the offensive side, to see if the Nets have actually improved over last year.

The Brooklyn Nets made a few key additions going into this season. They brought in DeMarre Carroll, D’Angelo Russell and Allen Crabbe. Then there was the rise of Spencer Dinwiddie, and the emergence of rookie center Jarrett Allen.

At the end of the day, wins and losses are what matters. The Nets have  all but assured they will surpass last season’s win total. But the advanced stats tell us more about the bigger picture, and project how the team will perform next season as well.

For starters, there’s no denying that the offense has struggled at times this season. On the year, the team is averaging 105.8 points per game, which is middle of the pack. They actually averaged the exact same number of points last season.

The issue is how they are getting there. The Nets have the fourth most rebounds in the league with 45.1 per game. This may be a surprise considering the team’s biggest deficiency is in the front court. Yet Allen, Carroll, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have been able to produce on the glass. The extra rebounds mean the Nets are getting opportunities.

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Consequently, they are putting the seventh most field goal attempts in the league at 87.1. But connecting on just 43.6 percent of those, dead last. By comparison, in 2016-17 Brooklyn attempted 85.2 shots, making 44.4 percent.

The Nets three point shooting, which was a point of emphasis, has improved. It’s at 34.9 percent this year compared to 33.9 percent a year ago. The issue is that 34.9 percent ranks 26th in the NBA, and the Nets are second in the league with an astonishing 35.3 three pointer attempts per game.

One has to think that moving some of those attempts into higher percentage areas could increase Brooklyn’s efficiency, and take their scoring to another level. Many times during the course of a game, it appears as if the Nets are trying to hit a threshold.

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Along those lines, the Nets 50.7 percent efficient field goal percentage is identical to last season’s mark. But that ranks 25th this year compared to 17th last season. The rest of the league is clearly catching up.

The thing is, many of their players who are considered three pointer shooters first, like Joe Harris and Allen Crabbe, have shown the ability to drive to the basket and finish. They need to be encouraged to drive more.

When the Nets are able to draw contact and get to the line, they are shooting at a 77.4 percent clip. That’s down 1.4 percent from last season, leaving precious points on the table.

One positive to takeaway is the team’s turnover percentage, at 13.7, is lower than last season, and no longer ranks in the bottom of the league, coming in at 22nd.

Examining the team under a microscope like this might seem like overkill. However, considering how many close games the Nets have played, and lost this season, and how different the year could have gone had they won even half of those, it’s worth looking at.

These numbers also show what areas the Nets can focus for next season, and could really make a difference in the win column.

Next: Breaking down the Nes defensive struggles