Although Joe Johnson’s play has improved from his horrible start, the scars are still there. Johnson can only be effective with the ball in his hands, and when he is missing shots at such an astounding rate it can derail a team’s entire gameplan. Johnson is not the reason the Nets are an absolute nightmare this season, but he certainly shares part of the blame.
The 34-year-old former star has taken a giant step back over the past two seasons. In 2015-16, the notorious ball hog is at least taking less shots than normal (only 10 attempts per game), but he’s becoming almost strictly a three-point shooter, as over 38% of his attempts are from downtown.
According to NBA Savant, Johnson is finishing at just a 50 percent rate when in the restricted area, forcing him to take a majority of his shots outside of the paint.
The Nets expected big things from Bojan Bogdanovic, and he hasn’t developed into anything more than an average spot-up shooter. His development was supposed to help Brooklyn, instead he’s hurting them.
Via NBA Stats, in the 1,389 minutes with Bogdanovic on the floor, the Nets have an offensive rating of 97.6 which jumps to 100.6 in the 1,160 minutes that the 26-year-old is off the court. As has been the norm throughout his career, the greatest liability this season has been his defense.
According to ESPN.com, he is ranked 437 of 441 qualified players in the NBA in defensive real plus-minus and has cost the Nets more than 2 wins. Brooklyn has a defensive rating of 107.7 with him on the court, and he has an individual d-rating of 113. You get it right? The guy can’t play defense. It’s the reason Bogdanovic can’t stay on the court for long stretches at a time and until that changes — if it can — that Brooklyn can trust him during crunch time.
Thomas Robinson was a superstar recruit in college, but never lived up to the hype and struggled to find a role in the NBA. The Nets are Robinson’s fifth team at the age of 24, and he still wasn’t able to break out on a team that desperately needed his help.
In 48 appearances Robinson’s only managed to stay on the court for 10.4 minutes per game, with 3.4 points and 3.9 rebounds on just 45 percent shooting. Robinson has been average on defense — which is an accomplishment on this team — but he’s the Nets’ worst offensive player. Only 16 of his 152 FGA’s this season have come from outside the paint, a disastrous 2 of 16 clip from mid-range, via NBA Savant. You can see why he stays inside the paint.
Ellington was brought in to be a three-point shooter on a team that was in desperate need of help in that area. He’s been the guy that launches non-stop deep balls — over 48 percent of his shot attempts are from downtown — but the problem is that he’s only making them at a 34 percent clip.
His below average success rate, and still logging 20.3 minutes is hurting his team. When Ellington is on the court the Nets are at their worst with an O-rating of 93.7, and at their best with him off the court at 102.6. For someone who was brought in for offense, Ellington has let the team down.