With the Nets completely revamped roster, we should expect many changes in how they play this season. One of those major changes is the pace they play at. When the Nets were good in the mid-2000′s, they had a slower pace where they played good defense and scored efficiently. More recently, the defense has been awful, and the offense hasn’t been much better.
This season, Avery Johnson is looking to change up the pace with these Brooklyn Nets. By watching the Nets’ practice this morning, Nets beat writers were able to see the pace the Nets want to go at this year: very, very fast.
At the beginning of the practice, Coach Avery had the players scrimmaging with a 12-second shot clock, meaning that they need to get the ball up the court quickly, maybe make a few quick passes, and take a shot.
Later on, Avery said that he expects the Nets to be at least 9 players deep this year, because you need to play a lot of bodies if you want to run. In contrast, the Nets were lucky to have 9 healthy players total for any given game last season. Avery said that, along with the starters, C.J. Watson, Marshon Brooks, Josh Childress, Mirza Teletovic, Andray Blatche, and Keith Bogans should all get significant playing time. That is a very deep and athletic team.
Because of all the running, the Nets were very tired by the end of practice today. But that is a good thing. They should get in shape now so that they will be able to tire out their opponents during the season.
Let’s look at the Nets’ opening night opponents, the New York Knicks. This is a team with 4 players over 38 years old. If the Nets can outrun the Knicks, they should be able to win the game, and they should have no problems outrunning a team like that.
I really like the idea of a high-paced offense. Think Phoenix Suns in Steve Nash’s prime. Although that team never made the NBA finals, they were a great regular season team and a nightmare for any defense. With a point guard like Deron Williams, whose passing ability may not be matched by anybody in the NBA, the 2012 Nets should be able to put together a squad like those Phoenix teams.
Also, the Nets are not a very big team, and probably won’t be very good on defense. Because of this, they are going to need to outscore opponents, and the best way to do this is to run. Every player that will get significant playing time is relatively young, in shape, and talented. Because of that, this is a team that should take advantage of the run-and-gun style.