The Brooklyn Nets Morning Dish comes at you this morning with the return of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, recovered from a summer injury and with new perspective.
The Brooklyn Nets will have a welcome addition to the rotation Wednesday night when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers, as forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is set to make his first game appearance of the season.
Hollis-Jefferson missed the preseason and the regular-season opener while still recovering from a strained left adductor he sustained over the summer and then was out for the Nets’ back-to-back on Friday and Saturday for an entirely different reason.
His son, Rylen, was born last week and Hollis-Jefferson told Tom Dowd of Nets.com that event brings with it some changes.
"“It’s a great feeling, a wonderful feeling. Just to see a little baby that’s yours and to just know that you have someone else to look after and care for, be there for. It’s an amazing feeling.”"
Coach Kenny Atkinson is happy to see Hollis-Jefferson back, particularly as the Nets navigate injuries that eaten into Brooklyn’s frontcourt depth.
DeMarre Carroll and Treveon Graham are both out for significant periods, with Carroll having surgery on his right ankle and Graham dealing with a serious injury to his left hamstring (more on that in a bit).
"“He can guard a lot of different guys, his length, 7-foot-3 wingspan, versatility, can guard five positions and he’s a good rebounder.”"
When you’re already short-handed three games into the season, any addition is a welcome one, but particularly when that addition was a primary starter for your club.
LeVert not satisfied with hot start
Caris LeVert has turned a lot of heads with his early play, not just because he’s scoring nearly 25 points per game, but he’s doing so with ridiculously high efficiency.
LeVert is currently eighth in the NBA, shooting 65 percent overall. He’s also eighth with a true shooting percentage of 75.1 and is tied for 11th with an effective field goal percentage of 70.0. His scoring average of 24.7 points per game is 20th.
The third-year wing is convinced this is not an illusion, telling Greg Joyce of the New York Post that he expected to play well.
"“I feel like I prepared myself this summer for this opportunity that I knew I would be able to have. Then just preparing myself mentally every game, I feel like it’s definitely something that — it’s going to be a challenge for sure — but it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to.”"
Through the first three games of the season, LeVert has set a new career-high by scoring 28 points in Friday’s win over the New York Knicks, posted the first back-to-back 20-point games of his career and nailed a game-winner with one second left to beat the Knicks.
Every season, it seems there is a player or two that everyone in camp raves about, but that doesn’t always translate to the season they have. LeVert got the hype and, man, is he delivering so far.
Straining to tear into the Graham situation
On Tuesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic, citing those elusive “sources,” reported that Brooklyn Nets forward Treveon Graham would miss two months with a torn left hamstring.
Coach Kenny Atkinson would not confirm those reports, telling the media via Laura Albanese of Newsday that (a) there is no timetable established for Graham’s return and (b) words to the effect of: Tear? Who said anything about a tear?
"“We said strain — that’s our vernacular so [The Athletic] must have access to other information. Still no timetable, but like I said the other day, I thought with Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) out, he was out best versatile defender and that’s what kind of grade I give him.“That’s how important I thought he was for our defense. And then, on offense he doesn’t need the ball, which is a compliment. He knows how to move it and gives us a physicality. It’s a loss and we want to get him back as soon as possible.”"
The definition of a strained hamstring can include torn ligaments, according to Albanese’s report, so it could just be a battle of semantics here.
Bottom line: Graham is out, which is bad. Get well soon.
Nets letting it fly
In this report from Tom Dowd of Nets.com, he details the evolution of the Brooklyn Nets’ offense. Last season, Brooklyn attempted the second-most 3-pointers in the league at 35.7 per game.
Through three games, the Nets are on a similar pace at 35.1 attempted 3s per game and their attempts have increased each game. Brooklyn launched 27 3-pointers in the opener against the Detroit Pistons, 30 in the win over the Knicks and 37 Saturday in the loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Joe Harris has been particularly scorchy of late, hitting 8-of-10 from deep in his last two games after going just 1-for-7 in the opener. He told Down that it’s just part of the plan.
"“We’re going to get them in the flow of our offense with the personnel that we have. You’re going to get a lot of good looks at 3 just through the offense. We were trying to get more in transition. We didn’t really get a ton in transition against New York.“Thought we did a better job getting out running, trying to get a few more up. Still not quite actually the number that we would like to get to.”"
As the NBA offense spreads out and teams look to weaponize the 3-pointer, those attempts have continued to climb on an annual basis.
Five seasons ago, in 2013-14, teams averaged 21.5 attempts per game from 3-point range, with the Houston Rockets leading the charge at 26.6.
In 2014-15, the first year the Golden State Warriors won the title, the average per team grew to 22.4 attempts and the Rockets were again the bombs-away leaders at 32.7 per game.
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Attempts increased again to 24.1 per game in 2015-16, with the 73-win Warriors topping the charts at 31.6. Things spiked to 27.0 attempts per game per team in 2016-17, with Houston reclaiming the lead at 40.3 attempts a night.
Last season, attempts were up per team by two per game, at 29.0 attempts, and the Rockets became the first team in NBA history to attempt more 3-pointers (42.3 per game) than 2-pointers (41.9 per game).
Through Tuesday’s games, the NBA per team average is 31.6 attempts a game from deep, with the Dallas Mavericks taking 43.3 a night. That is part of a massive increase in pace in the early going, with team’s taking an average of 91.2 shots per game, up from 86.1 last season.
That’s a big factor behind teams scoring an average of 113.4 points per game this season, after that average was just 106.1 in 2017-18.
If not for the Boston Celtics lagging behind at a mere 99.8 per games, all 30 NBA teams would be averaging more than 100 points a game, something that hasn’t happened over a full season since 1986-87, when there were 23 clubs in the Association.
And it’s a far cry from the lockout-shortened 1999 season, during which the Sacramento Kings led the league in scoring at 100.2 points per game — the only team in the NBA to average triple-digits.