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Jason Kidd making defensive changes, trying to shake up Nets

Dec 7, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

Brooklyn Nets v Houston Rockets Getty Images

It’s all on Jason Kidd now.

Lawrence Frank is gone as a scapegoat, Kidd is in charge of the ship — a 5-14 ship with the worst defense in the NBA. You can see how bad the defense is by looking at the stats, where you see the Nets give up a league-worst 108.6 points per 100 possessions. You could see how bad the defense was when they gave up 113 points to a struggling Knicks team in an ugly loss at home Thursday night.

But in that Knicks game you could also start to see changes — Kidd trying to put his stamp on the defense that had been Frank’s purview. Kidd is trying mid-season to move the Nets to a more aggressive style of the Thibodeau-style defense that tries to take away drives with an extra defender on the strong side. They also changed up their pick-and-roll defense.

Kevin Garnett talked about it after the Thursday loss, speaking to The Brooklyn Game.

“We have a new system, we’re changing things on the fly,” Garnett explained at the podium following the blowout loss. “Jason’s putting in a lot of new stuff since Lawrence has left.”

Though Garnett didn’t go into detail, one change the Nets implemented in their film-only practice and pre-game shootaround was in the pick-and-roll, bringing the big man “up” slightly higher to contest the ballhandler at his point of attack. Both Kidd and forward Mirza Teletovic confirmed this after the game.

“(It’s) so the (guard doesn’t) snake around and get easy shots,” Teletovic explained about the schematic difference.

The Nets did pack the paint against the Knicks, a team that had shot 32 percent from three on the season coming into that game. But Knicks coach Mike Woodson had spent a lot of the last couple of his practices on getting and hitting better looks from three and the result Thursday was the Knicks hitting 16-of-27 from beyond the arc and running away with the game.

It’s an issue as the Nets have packed in their defense all season but have done a very poor job rotating out to contest spot up shooters, particularly from three. Opposing teams are getting 20.3 percent of their offensive opportunities on spot up shooters and those opponents are shooting 43.4 percent from three on catch-and-shoot opportunities (stats via Synergy Sports). Thursday night the Knicks got a lot of clean looks on jumpers as shots were not contested or the close out was late and half-hearted.

Give him this: Kidd is trying to do something with the pathetic Nets defense. But Devin Kharpertian wisely questions if this defensive switch has been made with the Nets personnel in mind.

The system Teletovic is referring to is “packing the paint,” a scheme popularized by Tom Thibodeau, head coach and defensive guru for the Chicago Bulls. But Thibodeau’s system relies on two personnel fits the Nets don’t have: an athletic big man who can roam from side to side in the paint to cut off drives (Bulls center Joakim Noah fits that description), and athletic guards who are quick enough to keep one foot in the paint and slide out to their man on the perimeter if a pass is thrown that way (Bulls wings Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng are two examples).

Kevin Garnett used to be that guy anchoring the middle for the Celtics, but he is not the same player anymore. He, like the entire Nets defense, looks slow and plodding. They have been better with the big body of Brook Lopez in the paint to protect the rim, but he’s not exactly quick or a defensive force.

If the defense continues to play this poorly Brooklyn will not turn it around.

And that’s all on Kidd now. Whether that’s fair or not, as one scout told Marc Stein at ESPN.

“But I blame Mikhail Prokhorov. You’re not going to hear a lot of sympathy [for Kidd] because there’s a lot of [veteran assistant] coaches in this league who want the chance he’s getting, but I feel for him because he’s been put in a really tough position. You’ve got all these injuries, you’ve got an unsettled staff [in the wake of Lawrence Frank’s reassignment], you’ve got a lot going on. Would Prokhorov buy a $200 million company in Russia and put a first-year guy in charge?”

  1. wwttww - Dec 7, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Still won’t stop Jabari coming to Atlanta.

  2. detectivejimmymcnulty - Dec 7, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    They need to shake it up and hire a real coach and GM.

  3. thetooloftools - Dec 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Jason Kidd wasn’t respected as a player by other players… why did the Nets think he would make a great head coach? The Nets should can Kidd and put Frank in the drivers seat… but since when have the Nets been doing anything right?

  4. bigdaddy44 - Dec 7, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Kidd is an absolute joke. Fire him and hire a real NBA coach, Larry Frank.

  5. pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    I’ve lost ALL respect for Kidd as a coach, even if we’re barely 20 games in his 1st season. You don’t re-assign Frank. Period.

  6. braven4evr - Dec 7, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    management screwed up from the beginning by even considering and then hiring Kidd.

  7. timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    Keep Kidd, and you don’t need to riggin for wiggins.

    If a was a Brooklyn fan I’d rather have a shot at a top 5 pick then sneak into the playoffs. As bad as this had been, I feel it will work out in the long run. This team was never going anywhere, D-will isn’t that good anymore and can’t stay health, Lopez is good at scoring but pretty weak on the boards and defensively, and the rest is garbage.

    • fishfiletkray - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      Too bad the Hawks have the right to swap picks thanks to Joe Johnson. So its a lose lose for Brooklyn.

    • logicalcomment - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      exactly , they won’t have 1st pick, that’s the worst part, them and the knicks who can’t trade a 1st round until 2018, sad sad sad teams

  8. maomaruking - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    Reblogged this on maomaruking and commented:
    New Kidds on the block.

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