Nets lead NBA in shooting efficiency anchored by 3 players

Brooklyn Nets, Yuta Watanabe, Kevin Durant
Nov 5, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) high fives forward Yuta Watanabe (18) after scoring the go ahead bucket against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Jacque Vaughn is heaping praises left and right for coaching the Brooklyn Nets back into title contention after a rocky start.

Deservingly, Vaughn was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for December. But half of that equation is the players’ response to his coaching.

Three Nets players are anchoring their league-best efficient offense that put them on the cusp of the Eastern Conference top spot. A win over the spiraling Chicago Bulls Wednesday night will tie them with their last playoffs tormentor, Boston Celtics, for the best record in the East.

Brooklyn’s starting center Nic Claxton is leading the league in field goal percentage (74.3%), while Kevin Durant (93.1%) is the most accurate free throw shooter this season. Yuta Watanabe, playing on a non-guaranteed contract, has been the team’s biggest revelation as the Japanese forward leads the league in three-point accuracy, shooting 52.1 percent from deep.

The trio is anchoring an offense, which leads the league in effective field goal percentage (58.8%).

From a 2-5 start under erstwhile coach Steve Nash, the Nets have zoomed to 25-12 entering Wednesday’s game, winning their last 12 games.

Their chemistry is off the charts.

Claxton and Watanabe are part of the Nets’ solid supporting cast to two of the league’s best isolation scorers.

Durant and Kyrie Irving are third and fifth among the NBA’s top 10 best isolation scorers, headlined by New Orleans Pelicans’ oft-injured big man Zion Williamson.

Now drama-free, the Nets are rolling with one of the league’s top offenses (116.2 offensive rating, ranked 3rd) while maintaining a top-10 defense (111.6 defensive rating, ranked 10th).

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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