Brooklyn Nets: This lineup might actually fix team’s defensive woes

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 06: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 06: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets have tried everything in order to fix their defensive issues. Steve Nash changes the rotations every week in an attempt to find a combination that will properly support what Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden can do on the offensive side of the ball. Lately, Nash has experimented with playing Jeff Green, who’s only 6-foot-8, at center.

DeAndre Jordan has taken the brunt of the criticism, as the aging former All-Star has been frequently targeted by some of the East’s best bigs. Given his limited offensive profile, Brooklyn fans were expecting more out of him on defense, especially with Jarrett Allen now in Cleveland after the Harden trade.

Oddly enough, Jordan might be unfairly maligned on that end. Brooklyn is allowing 100 points per 100 possessions with a lineup that features Jordan at center, which puts them in the 80th percentile in the league. This lineup is also in the 95th percentile for offensive rebounding. For comparison’s sake, the Nets’ defense with Green at center is completely average.

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan has actually been playing solid defense.

The benefit of having Green in the lineup at center is the fact that he can run the floor and shoot from deep at a 43% clip, which makes Brooklyn a deadlier offensive team. However, the Nets have plenty of offensive firepower given the presence of their three stars, so fixing the defense, which starts by relying on Jordan, has to be the top priority.

Jordan can do just enough on the offensive end to stick around, which should be fine because it seems like the Nets’ defense completely breaks down the second he leaves the floor. In a conference with some huge bigs like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Bam Adebayo, why would Brooklyn trust an undersized 34-year-old over a more robust 7-foot player in Jordan?

The signings of Iman Shumpert and Norvel Pelle show Brooklyn is committed to fixing their defense. However, it might be Nash and his coaching staff, specifically de facto defensive head coach Jacque Vaughn, that are dooming the team by playing a very conservative style that allows their opponents to get back into games. Overhauling the tactics might not work better than sitting Jordan.

The Nets will only go as far as this defense takes them, and Jordan is one of the veterans that can lead a turnaround on that end. Trusting him to secure the middle, coupled with Vaughn and Nash getting more aggressive, could help the Nets play more consistent defense as they chase a championship.