Quick: What's the biggest joke of the decade in the NBA? If you answered, "New York Knicks", well, I'll give you this. But most people would say that the "damn trade with Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics" and most people would be right.
When Celtic General Manager Dani Eine left his Brooklyn colleague, the poor Billy King, in 2013, we just put Celtics to a recovery team, also capable of winning 50 season matches, he also made Brooklyn Nets take returning for at least half a decade, turning New York City's second team into scrap, including bad players and worse contracts.
Well, this scrap seemed more like a powerful Voltron this month, with Angelo Russell headed:
to a certain subgroup of NBA fans as a man who has attracted Nick Yang but his reputation as another Lakers at the start of the project should be almost forgotten (hey, would not the Lakers love Russell to trade a chip right now!). Getting out of Ohio, everyone knew Russell could score a goal but extended his game by improving his three-point shootout; he shot almost 38 percent this season, compared to a terrible 32 percent last year.
In the last month, Russell found a new level in his game: in January he averaged 23.7 points per game, and he is almost every three arrows each time. Perhaps more impressive is that he does all this with a 60.3% real firing rate, a real elite watchdog number; All season that would have made him out of the top 20 in the league.
His gaming skills have improved as he has been given full authority over Nets Kenny Atkinson's coaching system; he plays 6.4 assists per game, compared to 5.2 last season. The assists themselves have become nicer, including this clean flip to Joe Harris in the middle of the fourth time against Chicago last night: Russell is not perfect. As a point fuse in today's NBA, he attracts too few fouls: for basketball referrals, his free kick rate deviates from the scale this season to .113; for comparison, James Harden's free kick coefficient is .490. And his defense is still somewhere south of the mediocre; when Russell is on the floor, Brooklyn is a defensive team below average.
But the nets have made the former laugh not only a top quality defender but close to All-Star, who can take games even against major opposition; His best performance of the season was a January 14 victory against Celtics, where he scored 34 points with seven threes and seven assists to start six consecutive Nets. For this profitable part: from the beginning of 2019, networks are incredible 11-3, their only losses coming to the same Celtics (twice) and Raptors. There is no shame in the loss of road games to some of the best teams in the East, and the nets are competing in these losses, far from the parades of misery.
As far as the 11 wins, Brooklyn has done something good. The teams have to do: defeat the worse of them. The current division included victories over the bottom occupants like Atlanta, Orlando, Sacramento, Orlando and Nix. Nets also beat the bulls twice, including the victory on Tuesday night. Not only does Russell do it alone, although he is a headliner; On Tuesday, Shabat Napier of all his players dropped 24 points to five three times to keep the Chicago team. He also had a nice drive to make the seventh with 19 seconds: When Russell, the clean first option, got double along with the Bulls, Napier notices , that the basket is wide open and reduces Chicago's defense to seal the victory. Joe Harris, who scored the ball in the game above, also became a key player for Brooklyn, averaging 13 points per game to go alone with 39.4% of the shot at depth, with 5.1 attempts at a match. Rejections from other teams became collaborators with Ed Davis, Demarre Carroll and Alan Krabe, who helped Nets to shoot sixth in the East, just behind (who else) the same Boston team who left them so many years ago
Many of this is associated with Atkinson, who emerged from Greg Popovic's hearty coaching tree. Turning Nets into Spurs East, Atkinson has prioritized pace and efficiency, especially in January: since the calendar has turned, Nets is playing the sixth-fastest NBA, just behind the Bucks demo and LeBron-less Lakers. And although the crime is still in the middle of the Efficiency Package, the team is clinging to the other end of the floor: Nets had the fourth best defensive rating in the league in January.
Atkinson should be the coach. of the year. Nick sister did a great job in Toronto, but he was given motivated (and mostly healthy) Kauchi Leonard to work with. When Atkinson joined the Nets in 2016, Brooklyn left the season 21-61 with no direction and little assets. Although the team actually lost another game in Atkinson's debut season, a philosophy might have emerged, and with the help of General Manager Sean Marx, the team began to cast underestimated players to shine in Atkinson's system. Two years later, this potential began to materialize and Brooklyn knocked on the door of its first playoff performance in 2015.
There is a black cloud that hangs over the team and this is what can keep Brooklyn from making too much of the playoffs: Spencer Dinwiddie, the second best scorer of the team and Twitter ] has undergone a wounded right thumb surgery this week, and there is currently no schedule for his return. Dinwiddie relieves some of the result of Russell's pressure as he takes on his own games; his 33-point performance in one of the best games of the year (Brooklyn's victory over 145-142 over James Harden's rockets) was breathtaking:
If Dinwiddie returns as his usual self before the post-season, Brooklyn is in a good position to make one of the big boys at the Eastern Conference Pot. If the season ends today, they will face Indiana Paiers, a very good team, who also lost his best player and Russell's best defender, Victor Oladipo, for a terrifying, ending seasonal trauma.
For a team like Brooklyn who plays with home money when he understands who should and should not be part of his future, reaching the second round of playoffs a year after winning only 28 games – the nets became the First NBA Team, who will compete with the winning summit of last season on Tuesday, should be seen as a huge achievement. There is no objection to this: after years of being bogged down in the swamps of the king's era after Billy, the Brooklyn nets are now good hell.