Here at Blue Man Hoop, we’re gearing up for the 2012-13 season by looking around the NBA to see how each team matches up with the Golden State Warriors. We’ll give you an overview of each opponent, a matchup or stat to watch and a measure of just how big a threat each opposing squad represents for the Dubs. Be sure to check out the other previews we’ve done so far on Blue Man Hoop: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics.
Brooklyn Nets Overview
Well, the Brooklyn Nets swung and missed on Dwight Howard, ultimately forcing them to be content with retaining Deron Williams and bringing in Joe Johnson via trade from the Atlanta Hawks. To get Johnson, the Nets dealt a collection of fringe NBA players, none of whom figured to contribute to the roster in a significant way. And in Johnson, the Nets hauled in a very good, but also very overpaid, shooting guard to complement Williams.
Brooklyn, playing as New Jersey for the final time, missed the playoffs in 2011-12, finishing with a record of 22-44. They’ve been on the sidelines of a weak Eastern Conference playoff picture for the past five years in a row.
Coach Avery Johnson’s starting five looks pretty dangerous, and particularly balanced, on paper. Williams and Johnson man the backcourt positions while Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and a healthy Brook Lopez fill out the front line. Second-year man Marshon Brooks is an exciting guard off the bench and Josh Childress and Reggie Evans round out the relevant subs. Oh, and headcase extraordinaire Andray Blatche is backing up Lopez at the 5—so that’ll be fun.
The Nets flat-out stunk last year, ranking in the NBA’s bottom third in points, rebounds and assists. But they were good enough to top Golden State 107-100 in the teams’ only meeting last year. Deron Williams missed a triple-double in that one by just two rebounds and Kris Humphries victimized the Warriors’ soft front line for 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Key Matchup / Important Stat
Brooklyn’s rebound rate last year was 48.6, fourth-worst in the NBA. Keep in mind that the Warriors were dead last in that category. As is often the case in the NBA, the contests between Golden State and Brooklyn could be decided on the boards. The Warriors added Andrew Bogut and Carl Landry to their frontcourt, while Brooklyn gets Brook Lopez back at center.
You might think Lopez’s return would help on the boards, but he’s been a historically underwhelming rebounder for a player his size. In his last full season, Lopez ranked 65th out of 67 centers in defensive rebound rate. Look for the Warriors’ bigs to go to work on the offensive glass against the inferior rebounding of the Nets.
Threat Level: 5/10
The Nets are a decent team, and they should improve with Joe Johnson joining the lineup and Brook Lopez back from injury. But they’re not very deep and the roster is full of one-dimensional players. The Warriors’ depth, improved rebounding and versatility make the Nets only an average threat.