The Brooklyn Nets have a couple of the best players in the game, but they’re not getting much help. Although Kevin Durant continues to play as well as expected, the Nets have dropped two of their last three and have given him little to work with so far this season.
In their 106-93 loss to the Heat, the Nets had just 21 bench points to Miami’s 35, with Dewayne Dedmon and Tyler Herro outscoring their reserves by themselves at 14 apiece. The game was an example of what’s been happening throughout the season.
Heading into their matchup with the Indiana Pacers on Friday, the Nets are 21st in the NBA in bench points per game at 31.0.
Even within the bench unit, the distribution is top-heavy offensively, as Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge are responsible for 65% of Brooklyn’s bench points so far.
After Mills (12.4) and Aldridge (9.8), points per game averages drop significantly among the reserves:
Nic Claxton: 6.0
Bruce Brown: 4.0
Paul Millsap: 3.8
DeAndre’ Bembry: 2.8
The top three bench players are combining for 28.2 points per game. Here’s how that stacks up against a couple of teams in the Eastern Conference with better records.
Miami Heat: 35.6
Washington Wizards: 33.1
How can the Brooklyn Nets overcome their limited depth?
For the Brooklyn Nets to get back on track, at least one of two things will need to happen. Either James Harden will have to get back to being a superstar soon or other guys will need to elevate their game. A true contender can’t exist when they are relying on 30 and 10 from one guy every night while the next scorer on the list is averaging about half of that output.
Preferably for the Nets, both would occur, which would vault Brooklyn back into the title contender conversation in which they belong. For that to happen, guys like Blake Griffin and Jevon Carter will need to play better (or get fewer minutes).
When Harden is at his best, he’s a prolific scorer and exceptional passer, so production across the board should naturally go up if he gets back into form. Despite a troubling statistic that shows Durant and Harden aren’t producing results together this season, it’s still way too early to believe that will be a long-term problem.
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Fortunately, the Nets have a favorable five-game homestand on the horizon. It’d be nice to see their production spread out as they look to get back on track.