Jacque Vaughn says hot shooting stems from the extra pass
The Nets have moved the ball, and they are reaping the benefits on the stat sheet.
The Nets are one of the hottest shooting teams in all of basketball entering Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic, and head coach Jacque Vaughn says that’s because the team creates better looks by making the extra pass.
Brooklyn is home to the NBA’s fourth most efficient three-point shooting team. The Nets check in shooting 39.4% from downtown since Nov. 1 — just a notch behind Boston, Denver and Golden State, who are in a three-way tie at 40%.
The Nets are also top-10 in threes made per game (12.8) in the month of November and have hit at least 15 threes in four of the last five games. The uptick in shooting efficiency loosely coincides with Vaughn securing the job as Steve Nash’s official replacement.
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It’s no coincidence, then, that Brooklyn is also home to a top-five assist team.
The Nets rank top-three in both three-point percentage (39.8%) and assists per game (28.6) since the Nets named Vaughn full-time head coach on Nov. 9. They have an average of 27.9 assists in the month of November, tied. Sacramento Kings for fourth best.
“We really just shared the basketball. There’s some balls that don’t go in for us. There’s definitely room for growth there,” Vaughn said Monday. “I think there’s more ball handlers, people who can create, whether it’s post-ups from Kevin [Durant]if it’s a double team from Kevin, if it’s Ben [Simmons] By pushing in transition, it allows us to use our shooting and spacing and capitalize on that, and we’ve done that.”
After starting the month with a loss to the Chicago Bulls, dropping them to a 2-6 record, the Nets have won eight of their last 13 games.
They enter Monday’s matchup against the Magic with a chance to reach .500 (11-11) for the first time since 1-1.
After closing out the 2022 NBA playoffs and surpassing Shaquille O’Neal’s long-standing record of 10 straight missed free throws without a mark in a game, Nic Claxton’s free throw shooting is showing faint signs of life.
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Claxton is shooting a team-worst 44% from the foul line with opposing teams using the Hack-a-Clax method late in games, forcing Vaughn to bench one of his most versatile defenders.
However, the third-year big man shot four-of-six against the Trail Blazers, two-of-two against Toronto and one-of-two in the previous game against Portland.
Vaughn said it’s “probably a little premature” to suggest that Claxton has turned a corner in his free throw.
“I think it feels more comfortable swinging at the line,” he said Monday. “I definitely think it feels more comfortable in those situations. Portland tried to hack him at the end of the game last game, and he felt more comfortable advancing to the line. If there’s any kind of, you know, positive; I think that is the positive.”
Yuta Watanabe continues to miss time with a right hamstring strain.
Watanabe has not played since the Nets’ Nov. 20 win against the Memphis Grizzlies. Vaughn also ruled out his backup point guard for Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards.
“He still has some awareness in his hamstring. We’ll get him re-scanned and see how it compares to his previous image, but he won’t be available Wednesday,” Vaughn said. “We’ll check back and see how it looks from there.”