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Why Are the Brooklyn Nets Struggling?

Why Are the Brooklyn Nets Struggling?

To say the Brooklyn Nets are struggling to start the 2019-20 NBA season would be an understatement. Currently, the Nets are 4-6, sitting 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.

Let’s explore why the Brooklyn Nets are struggling to open the season.


Offense vs. Defense

Here is how last season’s Brooklyn Nets compare to this year’s Nets team in both offensive and defensive ratings:

2018-19 Brooklyn Nets

Offensive Rating: 109.6 ppg (Rank: 19/30)

Defensive Rating: 109.7 ppg (14/30)

2019-20 Brooklyn Nets

Offensive Rating: 119.2 ppg (3/30)

Defensive Rating: 121.4 ppg (29/30)

The numbers here really speak for themselves. The Nets were an average team in both offensive and defensive categories last season. This year, their offensive and defensive ratings are at polar ends of the NBA, and nearly every game has been a high-scoring affair.


Rosters: Top Heavy vs. Depth

The players on the Nets last season were able to contribute and have off- nights, because each were capable of helping the team win.

Below, you will find a quick comparison of some notable players on the 2018-19 Brooklyn Nets, their salary and win shares (an estimate of how many wins the player contributed during the season) to the two superstars brought in for the 2019-20 season.

2018-19 Brooklyn Nets

DeMarre Carroll: $15.4 million, 3.1 win shares

Jared Dudley: $9.5 million, 1.8 win shares

D’Angelo Russell: $7 million, 5.0 win shares

Ed Davis: $4.5 million, 5.7 win shares.

Spencer Dinwiddie: $1.6 million, 4.8 win shares

Combined: $38 million,  20.4 win shares

2019-20 Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant: $37.2 million, N/A

Kyrie Irving: $31.7 million, 1.6 win shares (if Kyrie averages 1.6 win shares every 10 games this season he will finished with 13.1, his career high is 10.4)

Combined: $68.9 million, 13.1 win shares (approximate)


D’Angelo Russell vs. Kyrie Irving

Perhaps the most fun analysis to make when comparing last year to this year for the Brooklyn Nets is the play of the top player for each respective team. Interestingly enough, both of the top players for each Brooklyn Nets team was/is their starting point guard. Here is how they stack up statistically against one another:

D’Angelo Russell 2018-19


Kyrie Irving 2019-20

10GP/33.7mpg/29.7ppg/ 5.3rpg/7apg/44.8FG%/34.9%-3pt.

While Kyrie Irving leads in almost every statistical category on offense, we should also look at how impactful each player is on defense. D’Angelo Russell managed 2.4 defensive win shares last season. Currently, Irving’s is at .1 and he is on pace for .82.

Ironically, the play of each point guard seems to be a microcosm of how each team’s offensive and defensive ratings looked in each respective season. Russell was about average on both offense and defense, while Irving, to this point, has been stellar on offense but lackluster on defense.


In Summary

Last year’s Brooklyn Nets were a scrappy team that was average on offense and defense, but had players capable of creating a product that was more than the sum of its parts. The 2019-20 Nets are able to keep up with any team in the league scoring the ball, but their defense allows for other teams to keep pace.

Additionally, the play of D’Angelo Russell (average on offense and defense) versus Kyrie Irving (stellar on offense and lackluster on defense) creates an undeniable theme allowing us to better understand where Brooklyn needs to improve from last year.



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