Dec 11, 2013 12:22 AM EST
As a second round draft pick placed onto the veteran-laden Brooklyn Nets last season, Tyshawn Taylor spent extensive time in the NBA D-League, but teammates and coaches swiftly noticed his tenacious style on both ends of the floor. He’s put up four double-digit scoring performances in 14 games this season, starting three, and has a growing relationship with the Nets’ new coaching staff.
Taylor praises Eric Hughes and John Welch as the assistant coaches who have helped in his improvement, working on his jump shot technique that has slowly developed between four seasons at Kansas and the NBA.
“My coaches have been great working with me,” Taylor told RealGM. “We have a whole new coaching staff from my rookie year, obviously. Coach [Jason] Kidd has also helped me, just talking to me and pointing things out that I don’t see on the court.
“Getting the experience and getting to play, it’s been helping me out a lot. The season hasn’t gone how we wanted to so far, but we still got time to change it and we’re looking forward to it.”
Taylor knows the depth to which the Nets have disappointed not only people around the league, but also themselves. Taylor and Shaun Livingston have done an admirable job filling in for Deron Williams, who returned from an ankle injury on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics. The Nets have also been without Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko for extended parts of the season.
Even with Williams' comeback to the lineup, Taylor expects Kidd to use either him or Livingston frequently next to the former All-Star.
“With Shaun’s style and his versatility, D-Will’s style and his versatility, two out of three of us are going to play at the same time together as a one and two combo,” Taylor said. “We’ll be good.
“I’m excited for our whole team to be healthy. I’m looking forward to it, man. When our team gets healthy, we’re going to be really good.”
Dec 09, 2013 3:23 PM EST
MILWAUKEE – Within an offense catering toward inefficient isolation sets a season ago, Brook Lopez had seen critical possessions gone astray under motionless one-on-one plays, under the watch of Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo. For Lopez, there was a private belief that a more spirited offense best benefited the Brooklyn Nets, and that had been part of the lure of Jason Kidd.
Early in training camp, Kidd sold his Nets on a lively offensive system, Deron Williams pushing the fastbreak as Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce spread the floor, as Lopez and Kevin Garnett fill the lane. Injuries haven’t allowed those players to bring Kidd’s vision to fruition, but mostly no one has shown the assertiveness to save these Nets – no one but Lopez.
After pouring in a graceful 32 points on 11-for-13 shooting – on effortless jumpers and disciplined post-ups – in the Nets’ 90-82 win over the Bucks on Saturday night, Lopez nodded about his continued maturation into the decisive, go-to scorer Kidd desperately needs with a depleted roster. A year ago, Lopez would always speak as the ultimate role player citing a need to get others a flow on offense, before himself. A year ago, the skilled seven-footer was pushed away from the block far too often and at times resisted constant feeds inside.
“I’m just trying to be more patient on the block, patient reading all the options to attack,” Lopez told RealGM. “There’s a lot more ball movement, and everyone on the floor is getting a lot more opportunities.”
Compared to last season?
“It was very stagnant last year,” Lopez said.
Despite everyone’s talk about Kidd’s issues as a first-year coach, despite the Nets’ fumble on the hire of Lawrence Frank, the fact remains that Williams has played just nine games and has performed below his past All-Star state. Andrei Kirilenko has missed all but four games, occurring setback after setback in his back, and the injury list goes on and on.
For all the missed games from players this season, none drowned the Nets more than the seven that Lopez missed last month. They had a 1-6 record to show for the 12 days Lopez had to sit out because of a sprained ankle, and it’s no coincidence this sluggish team has gone 4-4 when the 25-year-old scores at least 20 points.
Kidd hasn’t gained sympathy throughout the NBA for his spilled cup incident, nor for his handling over the hiring and demotion of Frank, but give him this: He’s committed to fully utilizing the guy – Lopez – whose previous coaches instead accommodated to players around him.
“Brook lets the ball come to him, and then he finds the open guys,” Kidd said. “That’s what makes this team special, because it’s not just Brook. It’s everybody moving the ball.
“We’re going to slow it down. We’re going to try to get the ball inside.”
The trick Kidd used for the late stoppage of play against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 27 opened him up to everyone’s shots at his coaching acumen, how it was an amateur move. Yet, players league-wide applauded the rookie coach for pulling the stunt to give his team an edge, and it demonstrated the mentality that Kidd had as a player – win at all costs.
The second-year player involved in the cup job, Tyshawn Taylor, admits he was caught off guard when Kidd told him that night, “Hit me.” Here was a respectful, dedicated Taylor, lost in the moment.
“I really didn’t know what was going on,” Taylor told RealGM. “I’ve seen the video, but I wasn’t really paying attention when that happened. His words got caught on camera, but with a whole crowd, a packed arena, I couldn’t pay attention.”
No matter. The Nets’ season won’t be decided by the cup situation, as much as Kidd agreed he should have known better, especially in this media age. They know the importance of the rest of this month, and Lopez pointed specifically to the next three games – at home against the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, then at the Detroit Pistons. “But it’s on us to string together the wins,” Lopez said.
From stagnancy to all sorts of movement around him, Lopez is establishing himself with more force now, and this had been part of Jason Kidd’s coaching pitch about a revamped, passing offense. For all the missteps, yes, the future Hall of Fame point guard has come to understand: not much stops Brook Lopez in the post anymore.
Nov 25, 2013 7:12 PM EST
Salary cap space and flexibility means different things to different franchises due to rules such as individual max salary. The importance of these disparities come into sharper focus because of the fact very few teams win championships without MVP-caliber talent. Put simply, the ability to sign players outright means more to teams that can reasonably expect those players to come there.
For nearly my entire lifetime, one of these lines of division has been New York and Los Angeles separate from everyone else. The two massive media markets have predictably had the most reliable success bringing in elite players that they did not draft, particularly the Lakers with Shaquille O'Neal in 1996. Incidentally, the Lakers benefitted then from the lack of rules that would have allowed the Magic to retain O’Neal after his rookie deal. When the NBA put caps on how much elite players could make on the court, top media markets actually benefitted immensely because they could argue that they gave guys the best chance to maximize their fame and fortune since the salary would be substantially the same.
However, these dynamics have been subject to substantial changes.
Since buying the Clippers in 1981, Donald Sterling and his management have been the laughing stock of the league until the sudden change in fortune the last few years.
After years of success, the Knicks have also hit hard times, failing to make the conference finals since 2000 and missing the playoffs entirely seven seasons in a row.
For a stretch of years, the Lakers reaped the benefits of being the only team in a major media market team with a positive reputation in terms of ownership and the front office. Starting in 2000, Jerry Buss’ team won the NBA title five times and lost in the NBA Finals twice, making the playoffs in all but one season from then to his passing earlier this year. Since Jerry Buss gave up day-to-day control of the team, the highly regarded top of the pyramid for the Lakers has taken some serious hits and actually failed to retain a major free agent when Dwight Howard left for Houston.
In my eyes, Kobe Bryant’s extension only exacerbates this since the Lakers effectively took themselves out of true championship contention for at least the next two seasons unless they somehow pull LeBron James. While the Clippers have certainly raised their stature, Donald Sterling still looms large over the organization and we have to see whether he will be willing to pay the luxury tax to keep their current team together for a few more seasons.
The other major change comes in the form of Mikhail Prokhorov and the Brooklyn Nets. For the first time since the 1980’s, a new team has entered one of these major markets and we still have to see if they have the same cachet with unrestricted free agents that the Knicks and Lakers have had over the years. It will likely take some time because of how many expensive players Brooklyn has on the books. Prokhorov’s willingness to spend to get a competitive team on the floor has certainly raised plenty of eyebrows.
The brave new world we are entering is one where none of the major market teams has the competitive advantage of their location and a top-flight organizational reputation. History and money are still (largely) on their sides but players have become more conscious of organizational quality in recent years, with LeBron James’ decision to go to Miami standing as a particularly interesting example. While having the space to sign the best players outright will continue to be a major component of their strategies, the looming unrestricted free agency of James in 2014 and Kevin Durant in 2016 will serve as major tests for the importance of playing in on the biggest stages. Incidentally, only the Clippers have serious financial commitments for 2016 at the moment so we may get to see what happens when the behemoths battle the hometown team and potentially better situations in terms of teammates in smaller markets. While we are still too far out to even speculate, these power dynamics could end up being a major story in the league during that time.
Oct 29, 2013
After Brooklyn acquired Joe Johnson, everyone decried how inflexible their roster situation had become. Since then, they have acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche. The Nets are extremely deep, with one of the most loaded rosters from top to bottom in the league.
Oct 29, 2013
The following 30 questions are the biggest issues facing each NBA front office as the 13-14 regular season begins.
Aug 16, 2013
Great drafts for the Rockets, 76ers, Nets, Warriors, Hawks and Grizzlies headline this complete rundown of the 2013 offseason.
Jul 15, 2013
The only thing crazier than Brooklynís reckless approach to team building this offseason is that it just might work. Championships arenít won on paper, but if everything goes right, all the pieces are in place for the Nets to make a deep run in the playoffs and could beat the Heat using the 2011 Mavs' model.
Jul 01, 2013
With the 2013 NBA offseason underway, here is a primer on what all 30 teams are facing.
Jun 28, 2013
We ended up with a quintessential Brooklyn Nets trade: flashy with big names and short-term benefits but with meaningful potential costs down the line. Fortunately for them, the team should be good enough to make those selections less painful to miss.
Jun 28, 2013
Breaking down all 30 teams by category of how they fared in the often surprising, never disappointing 2013 NBA Draft.
May 20, 2013
One fun component of the Amnesty rule is that we know exactly which players are eligible for it and that number can only decrease over time since the players had to have been under contract with the same team before the new CBA.
Apr 30, 2013
Brook Lopez scored a series-high 28 points, while Deron Williams was aggressive in attacking a Bulls' defense missing Kirk Hinrich.
Apr 21, 2013
The Bulls and Nets finished the regular season ranked as two of the slowest paced teams in the league, preferring to operate in halfcourt sets. As much as anything the series appears to be shaping up to be defined by health and interior scoring.
Apr 18, 2013
Jerry Stackhouse has been a valued teammate providing tutelage as a coach on the floor and quality minutes at small forward when called upon. In the midst of his 18th season, Stackhouse has maintained his physique to keep up with the young legs of players who watched him growing up.
Apr 12, 2013
Conventional wisdom suggests that the team with the best player has the advantage in a seven-game series, which could bode well for the Nets. Deron Williams has been playing great as of late, perhaps only surpassed by Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James in the Eastern Conference in terms of individual performance.
Feb 22, 2013
Everything goes back to the Nets' fateful decision to acquire Deron Williams in 2011. Right now, in 2013, would you rather have Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez and no cap room, or Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Damian Lillard, Lopez and room for a max player?
Feb 21, 2013
The Kings, Knicks, Rockets, Thunder and Cavaliers have been the most active teams at the deadline over the past decade, while the Spurs, Pistons, Heat, Lakers and Pacers have made the fewest deals.
Dec 28, 2012
For a brief moment last offseason, coming back to the Bulls looked like a realistic possibility for Keith Bogans. Ultimately, Bogans believed re-signing with the Nets fit him best.
Dec 27, 2012
Avery Johnson knew his message was wearing on his players. He understood that the locker room tuned him out, and still the coach begged everyone to give him and these Nets some time: We havenít even reached the halfway point yet, Johnson would say.
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