Bringing the Playoffs Into (Mid)Range
By Jay Cipoletti
Since the calendar turned to 2014, Brooklyn has turned into the Eastern Conference contenders most expected them to be. The Nets are 8-1 in January, with wins over Miami, Oklahoma City and Golden State among the eight. Currently seventh in the East and only 2.5 games out of a First Round home series, the Nets seem to be positioned well to make a much anticipated playoff run.
|Month||Wins||Losses||Offensive Rating||Defensive Rating|
On the defensive end, the Nets have improved in three of the Four Factors, while sending teams to the line a bit more frequently.
|Nets Defense||eFG%||FT Rate||TO Ratio||OR%|
The improved FG% is easily explained. The Nets have only allowed 211 Restricted Area shot attempts, 26 fewer than the next stingiest defensive team (Pacers -- 237). They rank third in RA FG% at 55.5%, behind only the Blazers (54.7%) and Pacers (52.3%). As those two teams have proved throughout this season, that level of defensive play is sustainable.
Brooklyn's improvement on the offensive end may not be, however.
|Nets Offense||eFG%||FT Rate||TO Ratio||OR%|
While the Nets have seen a significant improvement in their Effective FG% in January, they have actually seen a decrease in their make rates in the two highest value shot zones. For the season they are shooting 58.0% in the Restricted Area and 40.0% on Corner 3s; in January, those marks have dropped to 56.9% and 36.7%.
Their scoring resurgence has come from the much-maligned Midrange zone, where each of their top six shot takers are shooting out of their minds.
|Player||MidRange FGM||MidRange FGA||MR FG% - JAN||MR FG% - Season|
For fans pining for the lost art of the midrange game, Brooklyn in January is the place you need to be ... there is no telling how long it will last.