Nets have best offense, worst defense in NBA history since James Harden trade

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The Brooklyn Nets are on pace for some record-breaking numbers following the acquisition of James Harden.

The Brooklyn Nets suffered a shocking loss Sunday night against the Washington Wizards. They held a five-point lead late, only for the Wizards to score six points in a matter of seconds to turn the sure win into a loss.

James Harden did not play, but his team still managed to score 146 points. The offense is not the problem. As anyone can see, the defense is a joke, and as it turns out, is on pace to be historically bad.

Brooklyn on pace for dubious history

The above stat is a lot to unpack. The Nets have an offensive rating of 122.6 since acquiring Harden. That is mind-blowing and shows they can score at will. However, there is that 119.9 defensive rating in the same span. That means the Nets are allowing that many points per 100 possessions.

You cannot simply outshoot every single opponent, and the lack of any real defense is a concern for Brooklyn. It’s not like this is a new problem either:

Harden made his Nets debut on Jan. 16. Since then, the team has gone 5-3 and has only held an opponent under 115 points on one occasion. That was in a 98-85 victory over the Miami Heat two days after the Heat dropped 124 points on the Nets.

The real concern comes in games like this most recent loss to the Wizards and the back-to-back losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in January. Huge numbers are being put up on offense, but the Nets are still losing to lesser competition because of their lack of defense. Scoring 146 points and losing is almost unheard of for any team.

The formula of scoring at will can work in the regular season. However, having no defense is not going to work for an entire playoff run. We already have evidence of that so far as the Nets are 13-9 so far this season.

The sample size here is small, but if the Wizards can score 149 against Brooklyn, who knows how many points a team like the Milwaukee Bucks can drop over the course of a seven-game series?

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