Seth Curry Delivers Reality Check to Nets Teammates

Seth Curry, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Seth Curry #30 of the Brooklyn Nets runs back down the court.

Things got real very fast for the Brooklyn Nets once winners of 12 straight games now on a two-game slide in their first pair of outings following superstar forward Kevin Durant’s MCL sprain. The injury will keep him on the sidelines – and maybe away from the team altogether – for the foreseeable future.

Brooklyn’s 112-102 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder saw the league’s best offense (since November 1) get outscored 37-22 in the fourth quarter. At least it was an improvement over the 16 points they scored in the fourth quarter of their 109-98 loss to the Boston Celtics.

But it was not enough.

Sharpshooting guard Seth Curry poured in 23 points against OKC in the losing effort. After the game, he got brutally honest about his team’s current plight.

Seth Curry: Nets a ‘Different Team’

“I mean, that’s the way we’ve been playing all year,” Curry said per Sharif Phillips-Keaton of Nets Wire. “We’ve been kind of playing iso ball. Rely a lot on Kevin and Kyrie [Irving] just to create. 1-on-1 offense is kind of tough to score on two, three defenders.”

The Nets rank 17th in passes made but, thanks in large part to Durant and Irving’s shot-making, they rank eighth in assists. Brooklyn is also third in isolation frequency, per tracking data, to Curry’s point. Without Durant on the floor, the Nets have a minus-4.6 net efficiency differential when Durant sits ranking in the 26th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.

Curry chipped in eight of his points against Oklahoma City in the fourth quarter but the Nets – who lead the league in clutch win percentage – could not stave off the upstart Thunder.

“I mean, we’re a different team now,” Curry said of the Durant-less Nets. “We got to figure it out.”

Brooklyn suffered through 11 straight losses at one point last season when Durant was out with an injury. Adding insult to this one, Ben Simmons was also out leaving Irving as a true isolation solo artist and he struggled all game for it.

“We’re built to be a great, multi-dimensional team, multiple options on positions,” a resolute Irving said after the Net’s second straight loss. “So, when those two guys aren’t in there, obviously, other guys have to fill in and we just have to find our rhythm defensively and make sure we know our rotations.”

Plan Falls Short

Swingman Joe Harris discussed the Nets’ plan to take more three to try to make up for the loss of Durant. The Nets, who ranked 24th in attempted threes per game before Durant went down, have taken the ninth-most threes per game in the two games since he got hurt.

“It’s a point of emphasis for everybody,” Harris said ahead of the loss to the Thunder, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “When Kevin’s out, we’re not as efficient in the midrange…So we’ve got to try to flip — I think we took like 32 midrange shots last game. We’ve gotta lean more on more rim attempts and more threes.”

The Nets rank 27th in shots taken from the restricted area.

And, while they are first in mid-range efficiency, only three other Nets rotation players take more than 2.0 shots from that area of the floor per game with no taking as many as the 7.0 looks per game Durant takes (and makes at a 57% clip which also leads the team). Irving is the next closest knocking down his 4.0 mid-range looks per game 51.2% of the time.

Curry and teammate T.J. Warren averaged 4.7 mid-range attempts combined. The Nets are far from bereft of talent. But they are navigating murky waters nonetheless.