When the Nets played in New Jersey, losing streaks came and went without anyone noticing.
They play in a new town now and that means a new response to bad turns. Avery Johnson survived two years of endless losing in Newark with nothing but support from management, for example, but one bad month in Brooklyn left him to sit in a dark room by himself.
Now the team's lost four of their last five, which likely means P.J. Carlesimo is sleeping a bit uneasily and definitely means that he's dreaming up changes to a lineup that's barely treading water. The big idea is to start playing a quasi-Twin Towers look with centers Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche at the same time.
Blatche would be the power forward (or "4") under this arrangement, a position he played during his awful years with the Wizards but one he hasn't played since joining the Nets. Blatche is down with the program, which isn't much of a surprise since it means more playing time for a guy bucking for a big contract this offseason.
"It spreads the floor more so people have the opportunity to penetrate. Brook is a great player. I love playing with him. Even today in practice, it's tough to defend -- so many weapons, so many options. And it definitely gives us length," Blatche said.
It does give them length and it gives them a player who is actually capable of putting the ball in the basket on more than a Halley's Comet-type pace. Reggie Evans isn't capable of that and Kris Humphries is only slightly better than Evans, so it makes sense for a team sputtering on offense to look for a way to generate more of it.
It's a good idea, one that shouldn't have taken the Nets nearly this long to come up with after watching some of the brutal offensive efforts of recent weeks. They're also talking about playing Mirza Teletovic more at power forward, another move that would benefit floor spacing and offensive cohesion more than Evans' flopping around has been able to do.
The issue is that Evans is a good rebounder and defensive player and neither Blatche nor Teletovic -- especially Teletovic -- have shown much affinity for those areas of the game. Lopez has improved in both areas, but leaning more heavily on him for those things could have a ripple effect on his offensive game.
But it is worth the risk. The defense hasn't been particularly good as of late with Evans in the lineup, so why not try something new and see if it results in better efforts from the team?
The Nets have too much offensive talent to sit there playing the ghastly games they turn in on a regular basis. If Blatche and Teletovic are the key to unlocking the guys who are already seeing major minutes, the team owes it to itself to find that out.
And if they aren't, at least the Nets will know that they went down with a fight instead of just flopping the way they did when they were in the Garden State.