2. Allen needs to feast inside
The Brooklyn Nets run a 5-out offense that has Jarrett Allen setting a lot of high ball screens. It’s what the Nets do and they’ve excelled at it for much of the season.
With the offense in a funk of late, however, it might be time to try to get The Fro a little more involved at the offensive end.
Since his 20-point, 24-rebound masterpiece against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 16, Allen is averaging just 6.9 points per game over the last eight games. He’s shooting 56.1 percent, but is only getting 5.1 shots a night.
With their wings clipped due to injuries, the Nets need to find a way to get Allen more involved.
They’re not suddenly going to revert to a low-post game — Allen has just 16 post-ups all season and has shot only three times out of those. It’s not his game, it’s not what he does.
However, in a matchup against Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks — who Nets fans might remember wasn’t the quickest defender among NBA centers — Allen should be able to make some noise with rolls to the rim off the screening action.
Defenses have done a decent job in recent weeks of taking that action away, or limiting it so that Allen is catching the ball 10 to 12 feet from the rim instead of five or six with a head of steam.
But the Nets’ offense is also partially to blame for Allen’s decreased productivity, as the ball-handlers on the pick-and-roll sets have been opting for shots or bouncing the ball around the perimeter more often than looking for Allen.
Lopez has actually been one of the NBA’s best defenders among centers in the restricted area, allowing opponents a 57.9 field goal percentage — fifth-best among centers who have faced at least 150 attempts from that range, per stats.NBA.com.
But Allen’s quickness and deft footwork can create problems for a plodding defender such as Lopez and Brooklyn — particularly with their options on the wing severely curtailed by injuries — have to make working the offense from the inside out a priority to have a chance of knocking off the Bucks.