Starting Mirza Teletovic is probably not the answer, either. Brooklyn is 3-7 when he plays at least 15 minutes, and he has hit just 37 percent of his two-point shots. Teletovic is a good 3-point shooter, but if opposing defenses don’t respect your shot from 24 feet and in, it’s hard to be even an average player on offense. His 101 offensive rating proves that, and his 110 defensive rating means he should spend more time on the bench.
The Nets need something to jump-start their offense, which is 27th in field goals made and 29th in field goals attempted per game. They are decently efficient offensively, but their 94.9 Pace Factor – the number of possessions a team really uses in a game – is tied for 24th.
While the Garnett-Teletovic combination has been positive when they are on the floor together, the team’s pace drops down to 90.61 in those instances, according to NBA.com.
With Garnett and Pierce seemingly over the hill offensively through the first trimester of the season, the offense should clearly run through guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. But how can the big men pick up the pace and production to complement their backcourt mates?
One way would be to play Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee more minutes, if not start them. Among Nets who have played at least five games this season, only Lopez (25.67) has a higher PER than Blatche (18.70) and Plumlee (16.16).
Plumlee’s offensive rating is a more than robust 125, but he is playing just under 17 minutes a contest. He is shooting 67.1 percent from the field with a .148 win share per 48 minutes that is well above average.
The rookie had seven points, six boards and three blocks in 21 minutes Monday. More playing time for Plumlee would probably pay immediate dividends for the team.
In just under 23 minutes, Blatche is averaging 11.7 points and six rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent, a number that should get better. But the Nets are 3-7 when Blatche plays more than 25 minutes in a game, so a happy medium has to be found.
“Blatche as a starter or as a bench player is someone you need to account for at all times,” Vogel said before the game.
In two-man groups, the Nets outscore the opposition with Williams alongside Blatche, Anderson and Teletovic, all with pace factors well above its team average. Brooklyn needs to bring more energy in its lineups, and that means less Pierce and Garnett and more minutes for guys like Blatche, Plumlee and Anderson, with Teletovic being used in the right situation as a spacer rather than an inefficient power forward or center.
“We all have to do extra without Brook,” Blatche said, adding that it’s hard to win without effort and energy.
The current frontcourt players aren’t doing the trick, so it’s probably time to switch some lineups to finally find a team identity that can hopefully take the Nets in a positive direction.
Shlomo Sprung is a national columnist for Sheridan Hoops who loves advanced statistics and the way they explain what happens on the court. He is also the web editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. A 2011 graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, he has previously worked for the New York Knicks, The Sporting News, Business Insider and other publications. His website is SprungOnSports.com. You should follow him on Twitter.