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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We're saying the bench is the problem. I agree.

My question: how much is the players' fault, how much is the coach's fault and how much is the GM at fault for building the wrong roster?

My opinion. The Nets offense is this complex, delicate dance that requires 5 players in sync at all times because most Nets are limited skill-wise. Therefore, the floor unit needs to be highly coordinated. Complex, delicate things can be beautiful - like the Nets offense is at times - but they break down easier under real-world pressures (like fatigue or a good defense). Compare the Nets to the Kings who ARE flexible and interchangeable with the motion offense because their players are triple-threats where most Nets players, well, aren't. Flexibility for the Nets in games depends wholly on Jason Kidd, and even the best PG in the world has his limits.

What that amounts to - due to the needs of the offense crossed with players' limited skill-sets - is the Nets can't just plug in players off the bench like other teams. Scott has the challenge of placing a coordinated 5 on the court at all times or else the offense completely falls apart. When that happens, everybody looks bad. How was this problem solved last season? Remember, the bench lost leads last season, too. At best, they maintained a game. The problem wasn't solved, it was mitigated with a rigid, pre-scripted rotation. Through 48 minutes of every game, the plays and floor combinations rarely deviated. For a variety of reasons, the planned patterns have been lost to Scott this season, which is why he over-uses his starting unit, the only pattern he trusts. (Two other remaining patterns from last season are the Harris/Kittles back-court and Rogers as 3rd forward, which didn't work last season, either.)

Aside. We saw the weakness with such a rigid style in the Finals. While it assured a high level of play, the same rigidity obstructed necessary adjustments and contingencies when Plan A didn't work.

This season, the delicate structure of the Nets' motion offense is falling apart and Scott has failed to fix the problem. Rod Thorn shares equal blame for his failure to acquire enough flexible and interchangeable triple-threat players for the motion offense. The only exception on the bench is Scalabrine, who is a triple-threat player. The problem is, Veal is 6th on Scott's depth chart for manning the pivot - behind Twin, A-Train, K-Mart, Rogers and RJ - where his skills would be best-suited for the motion offense.

It's a tough problem to solve. The obvious solution is to scrap the motion offense and, mid-season, build an entirely new offense based on the strengths AND limitations of present personnel. Ain't gonna happen. Another solution is find a head coach with the ability to make lemonade (motion offense) out of apples (players who don't fit the motion offense).

A second reason for the Nets poor bench production is bench players misused and/or playing out of position.

Lucious Harris, an SG with (at best) SG-level point skills, is playing back-up PG in a system reliant on a ball-handling, court-vision, passing PG. While Lu is playing a poor PG, he ALSO can't use his SG game. Lu was a poor PG even before he was hurt.

Williams is pulling yeoman's duty as a back-up C, but he's a 6'9 PF. Also, despite his low-post presence, he lacks the skill-set (think Brad Miller) required of a pivot in the motion offense.

Scalabrine, drafted for his post offensive skills, is a natural for the pivot role in the motion offense, whether as a PF or C. Indeed, in limited opportunities with the Nets, he has shown good ability as a pivot comfortable in the paint. However, his GIVEN role has been to set screens, space the floor and swing the ball. Plays are rarely, if ever, called for him. The few shots given to him (about 3.5 per game) are usually garbage shots. Veal has been asked to sacrifice his game, even though his pivot skills are EXACTLY what the Nets need for the motion offense.

I can't blame Armstrong, Planinic, Pack and Rogers on Scott. I CAN blame them on Thorn.

Sum. Blame a fragile motion offense, blame a GM who signs players with the wrong profile, blame bench players forced out of position, blame a coach wasting the one player who does fit the motion offense. You can blame the players, too, but I would blame the above factors first.
 

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Not only was it a bad move from Thorn to resign these guys due to the lack of motion offense skills, but even if we ditched the motion offense, they still wouldn't contribute much.


The worst move of the offseason IMO was resigning Harris. Zo, obviously was the biggest mistake, but at the time they had to do it to resign Kidd, and if healthy, the benefits would have outweighed the negatives. Harris on the other hand has shown us all he was able to give us already. We knew what we were going to have, yet Thorn resigned him anyway. How can a team go into the offseason with hopes of upgrading their shooting, only to resign there SG. Change is better.

Its not too hard to understand. Kidd is in his prime. We resigned him because he is the best PG in the league. Now, when Martin becomes a FA, Thorn has to ask himself a few questions.

Are our core guys good enough to win a championship? The reason Thorn has to ask himself this, is because if we resign Martin, we're basically stuck with these core guys for the next few years. No, I don't think a core of RJ, Kidd and Kenyon can beat the Lakers, Kings, Mavs, Spurs or Wolves in the finals.

Will Kenyon ever improve to be superstar level? Personally, I don't think Kenyon will ever be at the same level as Webber, Duncan, Garnett etc..... His offense is too raw. yes he's improving, but he seems a bit too out of control, and to me, it doesn't seem like he will have to overall package it takes to reach the next level. He also gets outplayed against the Westeren PFs in the league, other then Garnett maybe.



If I were Thorn and the Nets management, I would make an all out effort to win this year and next year with the guys we have now. I wouldn't resign Martin, but I would do a sign and trade, for an average/athletic PF and a few decent bench players. After next season, I would do what it takes to give the team a complete face lift for the move to Brooklyn. As long as Kidd is there, no matter how old he is, we will never be basement dwellers especially in the East. Rebuild, but hold onto RJ and Kidd. Players like Martin are not to hard to come by in the draft. Look at Gasol, Randolph, Wilcox, Stoudamire etc..... Aggressive, strong PFs aren't too hard to come by nowadays.





I know this thread went a little off-topic, sorry.
 

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Nets lack of depth

Nets lack of depth began with the Mourning signing. It is argued correctly that Thorn needed to sign Zo in order to re-sign Kidd. However, if Thorn had fired Scott (deservedly, and at Kidd's wishes) Kidd doesn't pull the Zo power play, Nets retain their MLE, allowing them to sign two shooters, let Harris go, and probably keep Deke. Kidd and his ego takes equal responsibility for this. Scott's non-appreciation of Anthony Johnson is the cause for the gaping hole at backup PG. Nets' cheapness lead to them selling Korver to a division rival.

There is your lack of depth.
 

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Re: Nets lack of depth

Originally posted by <b>LesterLazlo</b>!
Nets lack of depth began with the Mourning signing. It is argued correctly that Thorn needed to sign Zo in order to re-sign Kidd. However, if Thorn had fired Scott (deservedly, and at Kidd's wishes) Kidd doesn't pull the Zo power play, Nets retain their MLE, allowing them to sign two shooters, let Harris go, and probably keep Deke. Kidd and his ego takes equal responsibility for this. Scott's non-appreciation of Anthony Johnson is the cause for the gaping hole at backup PG. Nets' cheapness lead to them selling Korver to a division rival.

There is your lack of depth.
Interesting theory, Lester (Android?). The Scott no-decision may have been the biggest mistake Thorn and the ownership made last summer.

I was never a fan of AJ either, but I did think he may have earned himself a contract with his play in the post-season. I guess, at that time, the Nets were already set on Planinic.

I didn't have any problems with the Mutombo buyout at the time, but I was expecting a little improvement from Collins. And I really though Mourning could have made a real impact


I think the core of Kidd, Jefferson and Martin is championship material, if there's a better compliment at center. Could that be Krstic? Maybe, but by the time he develops into a starter, K-Mart could be gone and Kidd will be on the downswing.
 

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Re: Nets lack of depth

Originally posted by <b>LesterLazlo</b>!
Nets lack of depth began with the Mourning signing. It is argued correctly that Thorn needed to sign Zo in order to re-sign Kidd. However, if Thorn had fired Scott (deservedly, and at Kidd's wishes) Kidd doesn't pull the Zo power play, Nets retain their MLE, allowing them to sign two shooters, let Harris go, and probably keep Deke. Kidd and his ego takes equal responsibility for this. Scott's non-appreciation of Anthony Johnson is the cause for the gaping hole at backup PG. Nets' cheapness lead to them selling Korver to a division rival.

There is your lack of depth.

Only in a perfect role would all those things happen.

I did not like the Deke buyout at all. It made no sense what so ever. Risking all of the money on Zo, and if he gets sick we would've been stuck with Collins (who isn't even as good as Deke) and under sized A-Train. Well, what do you know, Zo is gone and we're stuck with Collins. I also was totally against Harris coming back. I was praying we signed Jim Jackson as our primary backup, and sign Jon Barry for that spark plug tweener to come in off the bench. Keeping AJ at the time was a no brainer. Yes, he played well at times for us, but our offense always died down when he came in for Kidd. At the time, most of us blamed it on him and claimed that we needed a better backup, but looking back on it we were wrong. Zoran was supposed to come in and contribute right away off the bench. Thanks to Scott, it hasn't happened.
 

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A dose of reality, NYCbballFans, good post as always although there was nothing new. I applaused your work to summarize all our frustrations over the last couple of months into one post.

I've being calling to open up the offense for a while now but seems like Scott is still stuck with his SEVERELY conservative playbook, which hasn't been a success this season. He failed to bring out something new (Read: Bench plays) and that's not forgivable.

Thorn has his fair share of blames, from the moment he said: "We don't need any shooters...". There certainly are ways of beating a zone with average shooters on a team but when given a chance to pick up a cheap bomber (Barry, Williams, etc), why not go ahead and give it a try? Now they finally realized that and picked up Hubert Davis, which I think is a little too late. Thorn was always half a step to slow this past few months in terms of FA movements and he wasn't brave enough to make huge change, including the acquisition of ZO. Nothing against ZO but unless your name is Mark Cuban, you don't give out that much guaranteed money to a guy who has illness in his body.

Well, it is easy to finger-pointing now but I've been quite frustrated with their preseason movements and thought this was not going to be a easy one. I just didn't know it would be this bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Originally posted by <b>MightyReds2020</b>!
A dose of reality, NYCbballFans, good post as always although there was nothing new. I applaused your work to summarize all our frustrations over the last couple of months into one post.
Thanks. I was inspired to write it because of the blame folks were heaping on the bench in the Nets-Heat game thread. I wanted to point out that the bench problem is a wider issue than just the players. One of my major pet peeves is leaders who set up their subordinates for failure, and I see that happening with the Nets bench. They're taking all the grief for a problem largely not of their making.

There certainly are ways of beating a zone with average shooters on a team . . .
What you said is the main reason why I advocate for Scalabrine to assume a major role in the Nets motion offense as the pivot.

Q: How does a team with a motion offense compensate for average perimeter shooters/scorers? A: They make up for it with creativity in the pivot.

A-Train and K-Mart are FINISHERS in the post areas; they don't create, a la Webber-Miller-Divac. Twin passes well, but he lacks triple-threat options from the post - again, a la the Kings' W-M-D. I'm not saying Scalabrine is on their level, just that of the current Nets, he's the ONLY player with the skill-set to create from the pivot in the motion offense. Veal also happens to be one of the team's best interior passers - a staple of the motion offense and a lost art on the Nets.

For fans who still consider Scalabrine the spastic 12th man clown of the team, well, desperate times call for desperate measures. Right now, Veal's skill-set is the team's BEST option to recover the half-court offense, and Scott is wasting it.

Success in the NBA is fragile and fleeting, and competition is fierce - evolve or die.
 

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Originally posted by <b>NYCbballFan</b>!

...

What you said is the main reason why I advocate for Scalabrine to assume a major role in the Nets motion offense as the pivot.

Q: How does a team with a motion offense compensate for average perimeter shooters/scorers? A: They make up for it with creativity in the pivot.
...
Agreed and that was why I said Twin seems to have downgraded in terms of his decision makings. To be fair with Twin though, unlike in Sac-town, he wasn't the most important ball distributor in the Nets' motion offense the past two seasons. Kidd was. The problem is: Every team has found ways to limit Kidd's effectiveness. Cut off his passing lanes; pack the middle to limit the 'cutters'...you name it. Scott has to bring out the 'new elements' and Veal might just have the ability to bring out that something 'new', like you said. Among the few relatively 'new' faces in the Nets' system, Veal is perhaps the best playmaker, especially if you talk about the high-post motion offense. I thought the adjustments are more important than personnel and that was always my biggest complaint about this team, from the backup PG issue to this. They made the motion offense looked like a severely completed triangle offense.:sigh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Originally posted by <b>MightyReds2020</b>!

. . . Twin seems to have downgraded in terms of his decision makings. To be fair with Twin though, unlike in Sac-town, he wasn't the most important ball distributor in the Nets' motion offense the past two seasons. Kidd was.

......

I thought the adjustments are more important than personnel and that was always my biggest complaint about this team, from the backup PG issue to this. They made the motion offense looked like a severely completed triangle offense.:sigh:
Good points.

Kidd has covered so much play-making responsibility by himself, but this IS the NBA we're talking about. Teams adjust. Twin knows the offense, he's smart and passes well. The problem is his other triple-threat skills are lacking. He's not so mobile, doesn't handle and is a negligible scoring threat, which greatly limits his capability as a pivot since he presents fewer options - and the motion offense is all about options. The Nets need more from that position, more so if they continue on with the motion offense.

I try to catch the Kings every chance I get to refresh myself on how the motion offense is supposed to work on the NBA level. (Personally, I prefer the Mavs 'Nellie-ball' - less structured, more flexible.) The difference in what they do and what the Nets do with the same system is stark. Your observation about the Nets offense looking like a "severely completed triangle offense" hits it.

Your point about personnel is what dampens my expectations of Eddie Griffin. Even if he's as talented as his reputation, players are expected to conform their games to fit the Nets system. It seems like every player who's joined the team after the 01-02 season has failed to make that adjustment. It remains to be seen whether Griffin will be able to do so.

My opinion is that, when the coach delays the intro of a talent like Griffin over concerns about his fit, and a player-in-the-know like Harris says that small "wrinkles" or a lone player's imperfect execution can derail the entire offense, we're talking about a system that, as you said, is in need of larger adjustments than just changing personnel. From watching the Kings, an interior play-maker - a standard-issue motion offense pivot - seems like an obvious fix.
 

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Re: Nets lack of depth

Originally posted by <b>LesterLazlo</b>!
Nets lack of depth began with the Mourning signing. It is argued correctly that Thorn needed to sign Zo in order to re-sign Kidd. However, if Thorn had fired Scott (deservedly, and at Kidd's wishes) Kidd doesn't pull the Zo power play, Nets retain their MLE, allowing them to sign two shooters, let Harris go, and probably keep Deke. Kidd and his ego takes equal responsibility for this. Scott's non-appreciation of Anthony Johnson is the cause for the gaping hole at backup PG. Nets' cheapness lead to them selling Korver to a division rival.

There is your lack of depth.
I remember during the playoffs, that alot of people including myself signing Barry and Kenny Anderson. NYCBBallFan suggested Boykins and Barry. At this point we'd be a much much better team if we had over Zo.

-Petey
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Re: Re: Nets lack of depth

Originally posted by <b>Petey</b>!


I remember during the playoffs, that alot of people including myself signing Barry and Kenny Anderson. NYCBBallFan suggested Boykins and Barry. At this point we'd be a much much better team if we had over Zo.

-Petey
I still think a decent guard could have been found at the right price. I don't understand how other teams can unearth 'hidden gems' at point guard, while the Nets struggle along with AJ, Pack, Overton and Childs.

Some NBDL PG names to throw on the table - Omar Cook, Erick Barkley and Mateen Cleaves, former back-up on the Kings (Scott's big thing about back-up PGs is always knowing the offense, right?). Every year, stud PGs come of out college and fall into pro basketball obscurity, either in the NBA or a lower league. Every season, one of two of these PGs seems to come into the NBA and make a name for himself.
 

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I have a different twist on the Nets struggles...

Sure the bench is struggling but let's face it. The Nets' set offense has never been that great. But they got over the previous 2 years because 1)Kidd is a great point guard & 2)they were a good rebounding team. Kidd brought out the best out of a team with limited-skilled (almost one-dimensional) individuals. That is why when Kidd is out of the game, their offense is crippled. There is no-one who can consistently create his own shot. On the other hand, rebounding allowed them to run the ball which they Excel in. As the saying goes "You win games with defense:You win championships with rebounding." The Nets were a good enough rebounding team to get them to the Finals but not good enough to win it.

Thorn saw the Nets get bullied down low against Shaq & against the twin towers and believed he was a solid big man away from a title. So for the past 2 offseasons he attempted to get just that. (First Deke then Zo) Problem is .... in this league quality big men are very hard to come by. Even had the Deke & Zo experiment worked. That would have only solved 1/2 of the problem. When forced into sets, the Nets had difficulty scoring because they lacked a scoring threat who could create other than Kidd.

But had it been Sactown or Dallas they faced in the Finals. The end results would have been the same. Because as others have observed, they just have better personelle. The Nets have never beaten Sac or Dallas in the Kidd era.

A third factor that I've ommited in the Nets' success which can not be ignored is team chemistry which they have an abundance of and which makes up for their overall lack of talent. I believe that some in the Nets brass are hesitant on changing key of players for fear of ruining the chemistry of the team.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Very good points, Excel.

While the Nets have struggled, many fans have distorted their memories of the bench and the half-court offense into the circa 2001 Kings. Even when Harris and Williams were on their games, the bench was not a game-changing strength in the Kidd-era, and neither was the half-court offense.

Defense and o-and-d rebounding aren't glamorous to most folks, except maybe those of us who grew up as NBA fans on the Riley/Van Gundy Knicks. A coach like Van Gundy practically ignores offense until he squares away his team's defense and rebounding. I agree, those have been the MAIN problem areas this season, not the half-court offense or even the bench. Defense and rebounding point DIRECTLY at the coach, because those areas are much more about discipline, effort and teamwork than individual ability.

During the Nets run, those areas have been team strengths. This season, defense and rebounding have been inconsistent at best. For me, I don't fire the head coach over the offense, a star's personal dislike, the bench play or even the W-L record. I do fire the head coach because the team isn't playing "the right way" (in Thorn's words). Defense and rebounding are the top indicators of whether a team is playing the right way. The Nets weren't.
 

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I'll give you rebounding, but I think the Nets team defense has been their best, and most consistent asset this year. They're 6th in points allowed, and 10th in FG% allowed. Kidd may not be the best on-the-ball defender, but as a team, the Nets are very good defensively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Originally posted by <b>schub</b>!
I'll give you rebounding, but I think the Nets team defense has been their best, and most consistent asset this year. They're 6th in points allowed, and 10th in FG% allowed. Kidd may not be the best on-the-ball defender, but as a team, the Nets are very good defensively.
The rebounding has been downright bad, and I'd call it that. That's why I used "inconsistent" when I grouped defense and rebounding. It's relative. Certainly, the Nets don't play the Mavs soft defense and the Nets can still play excellent defense as a team, but we've seen individual and team breakdowns we didn't see last season. At times, poor perimeter defense, lazy defensive rotations, inconsistent individual efforts (RJ and Kidd stand out in that regard), teammates getting crossed up on switches with poor help recovery.

I don't recall any massive blow-out games last season like the Kings, Heat, and Grizzlies games, where the team just gave up on both ends. Considering where the Nets are coming from as one of the top two or three defenses in the NBA, one of the toughest minded teams, there definitely was a break-down trend in discipline and execution.
 
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