Los Angeles Clippers vs. Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. PST
November 16, 2013
FOX Prime Ticket/NBATV
1. At what point should Nets fans start to worry about the team’s slow start?
Jeremy Gordon, Brooklyn’s Finest, (@jeremypgordon): I’m an optimist, so I’m going to give it some more time—it’s still the beginning of the season, and a team with this many variables was never coming to come together right away. I’m going to say Christmas, far away as that seems.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): They should be worried now, but not irrationally worried. We never knew what kind of coach Jason Kidd was going to be. We didn’t know if the older guard would hold up for a season. We didn’t know if Deron Williams’ ankles would make it through the year without rolling over. Now, all of those issues have come to the forefront of the organization. For now, that’s reason to worry at least a little.
Dylan Rice-Leary, (@Dylearium): It is easy to think that this team should be winning right out of the gate, but the NBA is not a video game. A 3-6 start to the season would get the worry-birds chirping, but new teams take some time to develop, and this particular team is loaded with canny veterans who know the season is not a sprint. I would expect the Nets to be playing .500 ball in the next three to four weeks.
2. How does Blake Griffin look this year compared to his first three years in the league?
Gordon: Would you believe that I don’t regularly watch the Clippers and thus can’t speak to that with any kind of authority? Those West Coast start times are a no-no in my East Coast house.
Katz: Griffin has always been a good passer, but the way he’s coming off pick-and-rolls and is now looking to dish is a brilliant new wrinkle for this offense. Add in a seemingly improved jumper, even better decision making on the offensive end, and Griffin looks like he’s coming along just fine for a 24-year-old power forward.
Rice-Leary: Griffin continues to evoke video game comparisons, and it looks like he just leveled up again. The pieces are falling into place, his game is becoming more well rounded almost every game, and the anti-Blake crowd is going to have to try a lot harder to nitpick flaws in his game. The mid-range shot has been there, the defensive effort has been there, the passing is a thing of beauty, and the Clippers are playing at a pace that takes better advantage of this rare player’s abilities. Griffin was a star from the moment he hit the NBA court, but it is looking like this year is when he has finally justified his seed to the doubters.
3. How does DeAndre Jordan match up with Brook Lopez?
Gordon: Poorly. In eight games against each other, Brook’s averaged about 20 points per game on 60 percent shooting, though we can’t be certain because DeAndre was only playing 17 minutes per game. Still, doesn’t that say something? DeAndre’s better this year, but so is Brook.
Katz: Most centers don’t match up well with Brook Lopez on the low block, and D.J. is no exception. As Jeremy noted, Jordan has struggled against Lopez in the past, which fits the DeAndre bill of never really dominating bigger, offensive-minded centers on the defensive side of the ball. Jordan’s post defense can still improve. Saturday night is a good test to see exactly how much he’s come along.
Rice-Leary: Up until this year, consistency has been one of the biggest knocks against Jordan. New DeAndre is changing all that. It is still a small sample size, but so far DeAndre is averaging nearly 12 points a game, almost 13 boards (with nearly 5 per game offensive), and 2 blocks. He has been a force on both ends of the court, he’s a vocal leader, and he is finally staying out of foul trouble. If you need to get 20 points a game from your center, Lopez is your guy. But if you want nightly double doubles in points and rebounds, DeAndre is now the better option.