According to Synergy, shots inside of six feet that are defended by Mozgov fall just 46.5 percent of the time, 13.8 points below the league average. It is cumbersome for smaller guys to climb Mount Mozzy. He is not the most spectacular athlete but understands verticality. As he gets further from the basket, though, that lack of explosiveness comes back to bite him. He cannot stay in front of other players when they get the step. With how the NBA is constructed, allocating minutes to a big who is not versatile on the defense is not something a coach would consider.
The Rise of Tyler Zeller
In 16 games, Mozgov is averaging 15.1 minutes, his fewest since 2013. As of late, Kenny Atkinson has hit his Russian center with seven DNPs, and it is because Brooklyn just cannot afford to have him on the floor at this point. The Nets are not much better defensively when he is out there, and their offense comes to a screeching halt. Per NBA.com, Mozgov’s net rating is a team-low minus-15.7.