Brooklyn Nets: 3 Players that need to step up down the stretch

Taurean Prince Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Taurean Prince Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

#1) Jarrett Allen

Games like the one against the Atlanta Hawks Friday night, in which Jarrett Allen was neutralized as a rim-running threat and only hoisted two field-goal attempts, can’t happen if the Nets want to have success in a half-court setting.

If opposing interior defenses clog the paint and disallow the lob or pocket passes to Allen off the pick-and-roll, his offensive limitations greatly hinder the Nets’ half-court effectiveness.

His hook shot is inconsistent as evident by his mark of 40 percent shooting when attempting such, and he’s not necessarily one to overpower through defenders in traffic.

Though his defensive presence is ofter underappreciated, all the advanced metrics say he’s one of the best defensive anchors in the association at his age, the unfortunate reality is that the Nets need consistency out of Allen offensively given the personnel currently on the floor in these games.

When teams scheme him out, he has to be present on the offensive glass by looking for putbacks or getting his teammates second chances. If not, he’s essentially invisible on that end of the court, and the Nets need him to be, you know, big. 

You can’t blame him solely for a lack of development in his offensive arsenal. It’s clear that the Nets utilize their bigs in an analytical fashion. Fading off a pick-and-roll and hoisting a 16-footer, going to the block in a traditional post-up, or taking an uncontested three isn’t in the Nets’ recipe for their bigs, so he’s working in the confines of what is asked of him. Which is primarily to be a threat as the roll man in the pick-and-roll and to cut towards the hoop in hopes a teammate finds him.

Do I expect him to suddenly develop into a “do-it-all” big? Of course not, but I do expect him to be a menace on the glass and a force that opposing defenses have to account for. Because there are numerous examples of him being that player.

He’s been borderline-dominant in small stretches this season. On the defensive end, his eyes are always active, assuming the role of free safety like a prime Ed Reed. Once he puts it all together, he’s going to be a force.

For right now, it doesn’t need to be a polished product, but the Nets need Allen to elevate his game until April rounds.