2. Graham likely to play role in plugging leaks in defense
The Brooklyn Nets have been putting up scores reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s in the NBA (or their old ABA days), with scoring aplenty at both ends of the court.
It’s something that coach Kenny Atkinson is aware of, even as the team rolled to its 10th win in its last 13 games on Wednesday in a 126-121 slugfest over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Atkinson told Brian Lewis of the New York Post he does have concerns on the defensive end of the floor.
"“I think our offense has been 13th in offensive efficiency — and I know that can change quickly — but the defense is lagging behind a little bit. We can make some strides, make some money in there. At the end of the day, you want more balance. “You’re talking offensive and defensive efficiency, get those two at a higher level and that’s how you get in the conversation for bigger things. Right now we’re a little unbalanced. [We need to] be more efficient on the defensive end.”"
Over the last 13 games, Brooklyn is fourth in the NBA with an offensive rating of 113.3, but 23rd in the league with a defensive rating of 112.1.
So, yeah, a bit unbalanced.
The Nets get a defensive presence back on Friday as Treveon Graham has been cleared to return to action.
Graham turned heads in the preseason with his rugged defense against 1s through 4s and gives Brooklyn a defensive versatility that wasn’t there Wednesday with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson out.
It’s not clear how much Atkinson will use Graham, who hasn’t played for Brooklyn since injuring his left hamstring on Oct. 19 — the second game of the season.
Graham did log 26 minutes for Long Island in an NBA G League game Wednesday, so the ability to play regular rotational minutes is there.
It becomes a question of fit. The Nets are a different team now than they were in mid-October in terms of rotations, so it will be another juggling act for Atkinson with regard to the minutes on the wing.