The evolution of NBA has affected every position including how the big men play. From the dominant post-up and pick-and-roll plays to thunderous jams, we now come to understand the value of stretch 4s and 5s – keeping the opposing big men off the baseline and adding outside threats.

A lot of NBA teams have begun making these adjustments since last season, even the eventual bottom-dweller Brooklyn Nets. And though their campaign ended in a disaster, the Nets proved there’s another potential source they can tap into.

From Lopez to Mozgov

During the 2016-17 NBA season, Nets’ center Brook Lopez added another arsenal in his game – shooting beyond the arc.

As collated by Scott Cacciola of The New York Times, Lopez shot a total of 31 3-point attempts during his first eight seasons with the Nets – he did not even attempt to shoot a three during his first five seasons.

When Kenny Atkinson took over the coaching job, he encouraged Lopez to take his game outside the shaded lane. True enough, Lopez unloaded 387 3-point shots, making 134 of them. The big guy led all centers in the league in 3-point attempts and made while placing fifth in 3-point average with a decent .346 conversion.

As Atkinson said about his former ward, “He took it and ran with it.” Lopez now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers after the trade involving D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.

So now, it’s time for Mozgov to take up the cudgels and step up to the same challenge.

Adding 3-point arsenal

In his first five games with the Nets, Mozgov attempted a meager three shots beyond the arc, making only one basket; he made two 3-point shots during the preseason games. Yet, the 7’1” Russian center is no stranger to making long-range shots.

Here’s a video showing Mozgov hitting baskets after baskets while his Russian teammates look on:

A lot of 7-footers have already adjusted to play stretch 4s and 5s; some, like Brook Lopez, actually have high success rates in converting 3-point shots and long 2’s. Mozgov only attempted one 3-point shot while playing for the Lakers last season.

But it did not stop him from hitting those threes during practices:

This season, we could see a big difference on Mozgov’s offense. According to Atkinson, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who also hails in Russia, told him that “Timmy can shoot 3s.” This could boost the 31-year old Russian hoopster’s career which still seems to struggle in finding his spot with the team. During the first five games, Mozgov averaged only 4.6 points and 4.6 rebounds.

While there still needs some adjustments, Timofey Mozgov understands that he should still pick his spots, “It’s not like I’ll be on the 3-point line all game.” But he knows that for him to get that groove, he must take that shot, “If you don’t shoot, you don’t make,” the Russian big guy said.