Explaining why the Brooklyn Nets should target shooting at the trade deadline
“I feel like we have great pieces, but it’s pretty glaring we need one more piece or two more pieces that will compliment myself, KD (Kevin Durant), DJ (Jordan), GT (Temple), Spence (Spencer Dinwiddie), Caris (LeVert), and we’ll see how that evolves.”
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving said this in regards to what the team needs to win a championship in the near future. One can argue that if the team were to listen to Kyrie and attempt to acquire talent soon, it should be players who can thrive off the ball.
This is because head coach Kenny Atkinson is currently running a pick and roll centric offense as they are fourth in the league in pick and roll possessions averaging 26.4 per game. A pick and roll in Atkinson’s offense call for a perimeter player to hold the basketball behind the three-point line until a big man sets a screen.
Once this happens, the ball handler will wait to see how his defender reacts to the screen. If the defender fights over the screen, the ball handler will attempt to attack the basket. On the other hand, if the defender stays under the screen, the ball handler will reject the screen and take the open shot. As the pick and roll is unfolding, the other Nets players are standing behind the arc in the role of three-point shooters.
A prime example of this can be found early in the first quarter of a home game against the Atlanta Hawks Kyrie had the ball on the right-wing, and Jarrett Allen came to set a screen for him. Once Allen set the screen, Kyrie’s defender (Brandon Goodwin) fought over the pick. Consequently, Kyrie decided to attack the basket as there was no defender on the screen.
As he began to attack, Kyrie realized that Allen’s defender (John Collins) came over to trap him. Consequently, he passed it to Allen, who scored the basket. Although the pick and roll was successful against Atlanta, it should create problems for Brooklyn down the road as Kyrie accounts for 50 percent of the teams pick and roll roll possessions.
Kyrie being the primary pick and roll ball handler means that Spencer Dinwiddie has to spend a meaningful portion of the game in the role of shooter. Shooting is Spencer’s most significant weakness as he has a career 3-point percentage of 31.7 percent on 4.2 attempts per game. Therefore, defenders are not guarding him when he is off the ball.
For example, during the Irving/ Allen pick and roll, Spencer was standing on the left-wing in the role of shooter. Therefore, his defender (Cam Reddish) chose to stand near the free-throw line in a position to provide help defense if necessary. If this situation plays out in the playoffs, teams will choose to leave Spencer open to double team Kyrie.
This puts Irving in a no-win situation, take a contested field goal attempt or pass the ball to Spencer for a low percentage shot. Brooklyn would be in a better position if they could acquire another shooter as it puts the opponents in-between a rock and a hard place.
If they decide to double team Kyrie, he can feel comfortable about kicking the ball out for the open three-pointer. On the other hand, if they choose to stay at home with their defensive assignments, Kyrie will have single coverage, making it easier for him to score at will.