3 Reasons why Kenny Atkinson should be the coach of the Brooklyn Nets next season

Joe Harris Brooklyn Nets(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Joe Harris Brooklyn Nets(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Joe Harris Brooklyn Nets(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

#3) Defensive Identity

Solely from a defensive standpoint, the product that was shipped onto the floor in the opening weeks of the season in comparison to what we see now has represented two ends of the spectrum.

Through the first 10 games of the season, the Nets were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating (112.2). Since then, they are sixth in the league (107.6).

No real need for subtlety here: they were a disaster defensively in those opening 10 contests.

Their system appeared inherently flawed; they did not communicate with each other; they fell back into zone defenses out of sheer desperation that something might stick; overall, yeah, they sucked.

But since then, they’ve really formed an identity on that side of the floor. Given their injuries and let’s be honest, lack of offensive firepower, the Nets came together as a unit and decided the best way to find any semblance of success was to increase their defensive intensity and cause opposing offenses fits.

Their zone defense is now a product of strategy instead of hopelessness. Per NBA Stats, they’re 12th in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage (35.0 percent), fifth in overall field-goal percentage (44.2 percent), and 11th in free throw attempts allowed (22.1). They were cellar dwellers in each of those metrics through the first three weeks of the season.

That’s not a bad turnaround. And had it not been for that turnaround, this season would’ve been long over before presents were opened up Christmas morning.