Rebounding issues plagued the Brooklyn Nets before they parted ways with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline. And despite adding players like Dorian Finney-Smith and Miles Bridges, who have more size, the struggles on the glass have continued for the Nets in the second half of the season. Talking about Brooklyn’s rebounding woes feels like beating a dead horse at this point of the season. But Nets forward and soon to be restricted free agent, Cameron Johnson, says it is a necessary conversation to have if the team wants to improve.
“Continue to harp on it,” said Johnson, who had 14 points in Brooklyn’s loss to the Denver Nuggets via YES Network. “Continue to crush the glass and just figure out our rotations and where we’re going to be, so we know where those rebounds are coming to.”
Nets sharpshooter Royce O’Neale also chimed in on Brooklyn’s rebounding woes. He believes that despite the Nets’ struggles on the glass this season, the team is “capable” of righting the ship as they inch toward the playoffs.
“I know we’re capable of doing it,” O’Neale said on March 19 via YES Network. “I think just everybody paying a little bit more attention to detail to helping Nic (Claxton) out, especially when we go small.”
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Jacque Vaughn Hits Nets With Reality Check
Rebounding is an effort stat. You have to have a nose for the ball, sniff out rebounds and overall be hungrier than the other players on the court to be the first to the rock. Still, there is a level of size and skill required to be an effective rebounder.
Size has been a detriment for the Nets all season. Brooklyn has just three players that are taller than 6’8, Ben Simmons, Nic Claxton, and Moses Brown. Simmons has not played since the team returned from All-Star break in February, and Moses Brown was just acquired by the Nets last week. They rank 28th out of 30 possible teams in opponent rebounds per game, allowing 53.9 boards per contest.
While there is an effort factor involved when rebounding, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn says that Brooklyn being weak on the glass is just a reality that the team will have to learn to live with.
“We have to accept it,” Vaughn told reporters after the loss via YES Network. “It’s truth. It’s staring us in the face. The scouting report says to try to go offensive rebound versus the Nets.”
Jacque Vaughn Sounds off on Nikola Jokic
Great players possess the ability to expose the weaknesses of their opponents, and that is exactly what Nikola Jokic did in the Nuggets’ win over the Nets. He notched his 28th triple-double of the season in the win over Brooklyn, including a game-high 17 rebounds. For reference, the Nets had 33 rebounds as a team. Following the loss, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn had high praise for the reigning two-time NBA MVP.
“Yeah, I think he’s extremely crafty, knows how to get open. You see that from all the marks on his arms when people grab him, holding him, and his ability to use angles and to use his incredible footwork to get bigs the majority of times to bite on little fakes. So, it’s not guards he’s playing against, it’s bigs who are reacting,” said Vaughn.
“So, I think he has the advantage that way. I think that’s why you give him different looks, but he’s on different areas of the floor. He’ll bring that thing. He’ll pass it to the right wing and get a pindown, shuffle cut, UCLA cut, widescreen, all those things. So, it’s a handful for guys and that’s why it’s a great challenge.”