Although preseason means something different to every NBA team, the Brooklyn Nets have used the opportunity to further implement their style of play. The fast-paced, three-point heavy offense has seen Brooklyn run out to a 3-0 record, beating its opponents by an average of 20.3 PPG.
Of course, every head coach runs his team differently. Minutes are limited in many cases, but Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has played his starters extended minutes in hopes of creating familiarity that will carry over into the regular season.
As it currently stands, Atkinson has everyone healthy and available to him. Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert have both recovered from ankle injuries, leading to a fair amount of depth. In fact, key contributors from last season, like Sean Kilpatrick and Isaiah Whitehead, might not even have a place in the rotation.
Competition has been key for the Nets. While teams like the Miami Heat and Mew York Knicks might have an idea of rotations, the Nets have used preseason to challenge each other. Nothing has been given, and having players on the heels of the starters should foster a productive environment in Brooklyn.
The Nets don’t boast the talent of many of the other teams, but they have taken a step forward for 2017-18–despite trading away Brook Lopez. Atkinson runs a perimeter-oriented offense, and all four players will play on the outside, boasting the ability to drive and kick. In the immediate future, Timofey Mozgov will man the center position while the team figures to bring rookie Jarrett Allen along slowly.
“I feel like we’re playing the right way,” point guard Jeremy Lin said after a preseason win over the Knicks. “I felt like if we could draw it up that’s the way it would be: Gritty defense leading to unselfish offense.”
Brooklyn’s lineup is loaded with capable three-point shooters. If the team can develop consistent defensive effort, open three-pointers should result at the offensive end.
The Nets still have some position battles worth watching, too. Crabbe should start the season at the small forward position, meaning DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis- Jefferson would both be vying for the starting power forward spot. Up until now, Hollis-Jefferson has been the starter there, but Carroll is the better shooter and Atkinson is familiar with the forward from their days together with the Atlanta Hawks.
In addition, the Nets will need to solidify their reserve rotation. It’s easy to mix and match in the preseason, but the team will need to decide if Spencer Dinwiddie, LeVert, Joe Harris, and Trevor Booker are going to be the go-to-players off the bench.
The Nets open the regular season on Oct. 18 against the Indiana Pacers.