Jan 21, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams (8) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) at the Prudential Center. Oklahoma City Thunder defeats the New Jersey Nets 84-74. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Oklahoma City Thunder 2012-13 Preview: Brooklyn Nets

Thunderous Intentions will begin to preview the 2012-13 NBA season by going through every team in the league and breaking down how they match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Be sure to check out the previous matchups we have previewed: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics.

Jim O'Connor-US-PRESSWIRE

Brooklyn Nets Team Overview

There is a lot of anticipation surrounding the Brooklyn Nets and the upcoming season. First and foremost, they are moving to a new city and new arena and they have put together a quality roster that should be very competitive in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets’ offseason began with Dwight Howard saying Brooklyn was the only team he would re-sign with past next season. But the Nets and Orlando Magic were unable to come up with a deal to send Howard to Brooklyn.

The Nets moved on re-signing Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries and then also trading for Joe Johnson. Those five will combine for a pretty potent starting five next season.

The Nets also added via free agency Mirza Teletovic, C.J. Watson, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse and then they also drafted Tyshawn Taylor. The Nets will be parting ways with Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Gerald Green, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams and DeShawn Stevenson from last year’s team.

There is clearly reason to be excited about Brooklyn next year. This team is as talented as any in the East right now except for the Miami Heat. There will be some sever luxury tax penalties for owner Mikhail Prokhorov but he doesn’t seem to care much about spending money.

The Nets finished with a 22-44 record last season and easily missed the playoffs. They dealt with injuries to Lopez and overall had a pretty disappointing season.

Last year

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Nets played just once last season with the Thunder winning in New Jersey 84-74 on Jan. 21. It wasn’t the prettiest game with the Thunder shooting 41.6 percent from the field and the Nets just 31.0 percent.

Kevin Durant scored 20 points for the Thunder on 9-of-22 shooting and he was 0-for-6 from three. He did pull down 15 rebounds but there were a lot of opportunities for rebounds in this game.

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 21 points on 9-of-21 shooting and also had six assists. James Harden scored 16 off the bench in 28 minutes.

The Thunder blocked 10 shots as a team with Serge Ibaka leading the way with five.

Williams had 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting for the Nets. Humphries had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

The matchup

The Nets had the 22nd most efficient offense in terms of PPP last season while the Thunder defense was 5th in the league.

The Nets were a good transition team ranking 11th and were 6th best in the post, although only 8.1 percent of their offense came from the post. Despite having a great offensive rebounder in Humphries, they were dead last in the league in scoring on put backs.

The Nets’ offense relied most heavily on spot-up shooting but they were only 25th in the league in that department. They were a good isolation team led by Williams and MarShon Brooks and were 8th best in the league on those plays.

The Thunder defense would have the advantage vs. Brooklyn in every type of play except for transition.

The Nets’ defense was even worse than their offense ranked 28th in the league while the Thunder were 2nd best.

The Thunder have the advantage on every type of play once again but the Nets were pretty good defending isolation plays at 5th in the league. They showed this too in their matchup against the Thunder holding Durant and Westbrook to such poor shooting nights.

The Nets were 26th in the league vs. spot-ups and the pick-and-roll. So basically, if the Thunder could have run a more precise offense vs. the Nets last year, they would have really blown them out. Since they ended up relying too much on isolation, last year’s game was closer.

Next year

The Thunder and Nets will play each other twice next season. The first meeting will be Dec. 4 in Brooklyn with the second coming Jan. 2 in OKC.

The Nets will definitely be a better squad next season that should be able to challenge the Thunder better than they did last season.

Offensively the Nets should improve with the addition of Johnson and a healthy Lopez but defensively they should still have a lot of trouble slowing down the Thunder. Wallace however is one of the few players in the NBA that may be able to do a decent job guarding Durant.

The Nets have the potential to drastically improve next season with a rejuvenated franchise and that could make them one of the few teams in the East capable of playing the Thunder tough.

For more Brooklyn Nets coverage, visit From Russia With Dunk.

Tags: Brooklyn Nets Oklahoma City Thunder

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