Brooklyn Nets: 3 takeaways from a bad loss to Bulls

Brooklyn Nets. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2. Hollis-Jefferson’s struggles seem self-imposed

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has not had the season he had hoped for as he prepares to become a restricted free agent this summer.

After going 2-for-7 with four points in Friday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, the fourth-year veteran is averaging just 9.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting this season.

The shooting percentage is far and away a career-low, as are his marks of 21.4 percent from 3-point range and 64.5 percent at the foul line.

In the loss to the Bulls, Hollis-Jefferson continued a trend he’s displayed for much of the season. He’s been effective getting himself open for looks at the basket, but he’s also made those looks far more difficult than they often need to be.

This turnaround jumper in the first quarter by Hollis-Jefferson featured a decision to turn against the grain, making it a much more difficult shot for his left-handed release.

On this shot, despite having a substantial size advantage over Chicago guard Ryan Arcidiacano, Jefferson again chose the fadeaway and missed it badly.

Despite having the defender on his back, Hollis-Jefferson on this drive opted for a twisting reverse layup instead of taking the ball up strong from the strong side of the floor.

This was not an anomaly — these three shot attempts are a microcosm of Hollis-Jefferson’s entire season at the offensive end. I joked with someone the other day that RHJ may have the mistaken belief that — like competitive diving — there are extra points for a high degree of difficulty.

He’s not a smooth jump shooter — often the ball looks like it’s being inadvertently launched out of some sort of involuntary muscle spasm — but when he takes his time and gets his feet under him, he can at least knock some of them down.

But the fadeaway/turnaround arsenal has not been there often this season and his drives too often end with wild, out-of-control attempts whether he’s being closely defended or not.

It’s particularly difficult to understand because he had made significant progress last season as an offensive threat, hitting 47.2 percent of his shots, developing an effective mid-range jumper out to just inside the 3-point line and using his strength to finish through contact.

This season, he’s almost studiously avoiding that contact, instead opting for twisting, whirling shots where it appears at times he is only vaguely aware of the location of the rim.

He is a valuable defender, both with his effectiveness and the versatility he has being able to guard every position on the floor.

Despite of his defensive gifts, his offensive inefficiency has rendered him a net negative this season. The Nets are a minus-1.8 points per 100 possessions with Hollis-Jefferson on the floor and a plus-0.2 with him off, a minus-2.0 differential overall.

Among rotation players, Hollis-Jefferson’s True Shooting Percentage of 54.6 is ahead of only the 54.1 mark of backup center Ed Davis. Davis, however, has an overall on/off rating of plus-6.8.

Perhaps someone should acquaint RHJ with Occam’s Razor and convince him that the simplest shot is most often the correct one.