The Brooklyn Nets currently have four ideal starters with D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily.com notes Brooklyn is undefeated in the three games they featured Russell-Crabbe-Carroll-RHJ and Timofey Mozgov in their starting lineup. Mozgov has been their everyday center.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story considering those five players have been outscored by 30.4 points per 100 possessions, via NBA.com. When they keep the core of that lineup but replace Mozgov with Quincy Acy, they have one of the most optimal lineups in the league.
The five players highlighted by Puccio have played 33 minutes on the court together while the aforementioned four have played just 17 minutes alongside Acy. However, with Acy, they have actually outscored opponents by 56.6 points per 100 possessions.
Acy might be undersized but has legitimate value, especially as a three-point scorer, as the game has become more reliant on small ball.
Brooklyn has a better effective field goal percentage when Acy is playing and they are shooting especially well near the rim and on all three-pointers, via Cleaning The Glass.
During games when Acy has been a starter during his career, he has a better field goal percentage (54.3 percent vs. 45.5 percent) while Mozgov has a nearly identical shooting efficiency (53.5 percent vs. 53.2 percent) off the bench.
Not only does Acy play better when he knows he’s in the starting rotation, but as we mentioned, the team is better all-around as well.
According to NBA Math, Brooklyn plays like a team with a 67.8 winning percentage when Acy is on the court. Meanwhile, with Mozgov, the same measurement says the Nets would have a mere 19.2 winning percentage.
We are also able to look at stats from individual players with Acy on the court and Mozgov off the court (and vice versa) via RotoGrinders.com.
This shows that both Russell and Carroll average at least 6.0 more points per 36 minutes when Acy is on the court and Mozgov is on the bench than when that is flipped. Russell also averages 2.89 additional assists per 36 minutes while Carroll grabs 4.82 more rebounds when he is playing with Acy and not Mozgov.
Crabbe also plays better with Acy while Hollis-Jefferson has shown to be more effective with Mozgov, though neither have significant enough changes worth noting.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson believes that defenders must account for Acy as a three-point shooter, which helps the rest of their offense spread the floor.
The 7-foot-1 Mozgov is significantly taller than the 6-foot-7 Acy. But as we explained, Carroll is getting 4.82 more rebounds per 36 minutes when Acy is playing. This season, Mozgov is averaging just 2.0 more rebounds than Acy per minutes. As such, the height deficiency would not be a problem for grabbing rebounds.
After starting off the season with 2 wins and 1 loss, the Nets have dropped 7 of their last 10. Considering they do not have the rights to their first-round draft pick, the team needs to continue to do whatever they can to win as it does not make sense to tank this season.
Acy as a starter, not Mozgov, is worth looking at to help the team get back to their early-season successes.