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How the Brooklyn Nets Have Saved Their Season (Part Two)

January 14th, 2014 at 10:13 PM
By Martin Mihaly

'Brooklyn Nets vs Chicago Bulls' photo (c) 2013, Shinya Suzuki - license:

For the Brooklyn Nets, the improved play of Mirza Teletovic has been a key factor for the team's recent success.  Teletovic is not typically a player that will come off the bench and light up the scoreboard or be the team's best defensive player.  However, Teletovic has improved on the defensive.  He's a big body that they can use.  

His real importance comes from what he can do on the offensive end.  Teletovic has shown his ability to stretch the floor and create problems for the opponents defensively with his ability to make three's.  For the season Teletovic is shooting over 40 percent from three-point range.  During the team's five game win streak, Teletovic connected on 11 of his 26 attempts from deep.

Perhaps the Nets most frustratingly inconsistent player this season has been Andray Blatche.  There have been times where Blatche has been terrific and needed to stay on the court.  There have been other times where Blatche has been absolutely brutal.  His decision-making and shot selection have not been ideal throughout most of the season.

Not much has changed for Blatche since he re-joined the team after missing three games for personal reasons.  Blatche has had two games where he scored over ten points, plus another game against the Miami Heat where he scored eight points and grabbed eight boards.  The Nets won all three of those games.

Blatche has had two games where he combined to score just nine points.  The Nets won one of those games and lost the other.  Much of the Nets success (or lackthereof) this season has been predicated on the play of Blatche.  When he's good, the Nets chances of winning go up dramatically as he can be a mismatch for opponents.  When he's bad, his decision-making costs Nets possessions and creates frustration.

Finally, one of the biggest changes that's occurred is the difference in Jason Kidd as a coach and the confidence of his player's.  As has been well documented, Kidd transitioned from being a player to the head coach with no stops or time-off in between.  The transition has been anything but smooth.  

It was a tumultuous start for the rookie coach.  The hire of Lawrence Frank to be one of his top assistants turned out to be a disaster as the two had trouble co-existing as coaches.  The team, of course, has dealt with more than fair share of injuries to Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry.  The team had an identity crisis, unsure of what each players role was on the team.

Now, it seems as though some of those kinks are starting to be fixed.  The team has played with a lot more heart, energy and effort in recent games.  Players finally seem to be getting comfortable with one another.  Most importantly, Kidd has them playing much harder and has possibly gained more confidence from his players.

Whether or not the Nets keep things up is still to be seen.  It does seem as though things are finally pointing upwards.  

Tags: Andrei Kirilenko, Basketball, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Nets, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd, Mirza Teletovic, NBA, Paul Pierce

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