The Brooklyn Nets have a promising season ahead of them.
Despite Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce entering the twilight of their careers, and the question marks surrounding Jason Kidd's coaching experience, confidence and enthusiasm were abundant amongst the players interviewed.
Winning a Title
It may be every team's goal to win a championship, but few organizations have the horses and experience necessary to outlast the NBA's best.
Brooklyn has the talent, and its players are quite serious about bringing the Larry O'Brien Trophy to the Barclays Center:
Winning the Atlantic Division simply isn't enough for Paul Pierce:
.@paulpierce34: "I came here to win a championship. I don't even want to see a banner if we win the division. The expectations have grown."— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 30, 2013
Garnett, hungry to compete, also turned down Jason Kidd's idea to not play both games of back-to-back sets, via Mike Mazzeo of ESPN, because, "...from a chemistry standpoint, I think it's important for me to be out there with everybody, and I think it'll speed the chemistry process up more quickly."
Learning from the Vets
Veterans like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry have already won rings, and they'll be bestowing the knowledge they have accumulated thus far to their less experienced teammates.
"When you look at Jet, KG, Truth, Coach Kidd - you can go down the list - there's so many guys I can learn from."--Brook Lopez #NetsMediaDay— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 30, 2013
Brook Lopez: "I'm excited to play with KG, I'm excited to be around him and soak up everything like a sponge." pic.twitter.com/0gDKdFMfzc— Moke Hamilton (@MokeHamilton) September 30, 2013
"KG, Paul & Jason are 3 guys who have won championships. Just seeing their mentality, that'll be good for this group."--@DeronWilliams— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 30, 2013
The leadership and toughness provided by Garnett, Pierce and Terry will also teach the Nets how to deal with adversity, which was a concern for Brooklyn last season:
D-Will on Game 7 vs. Bulls: "I think that we kind of were soft. That's the only way to put it. I don't see that being a problem this year."— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) September 30, 2013
Backup point guards Shaun Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor were well aware of the Nets' deep roster:
Jason Terry mentioned the importance of the reserves:
The willingness to play together as a unit makes the Nets a lethal team with their variety of weapons.
Joe Johnson spoke about the Nets depth and the amount of playmakers the franchise has, charting the difficulty defenses will have with Brooklyn's versatility:
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are as serious as you can be about winning a championship, but would you expect anything less from those two warriors?
With their careers coming to a close, they're salivating at the opportunity to cement their legacies with at least one more NBA title. Both also have a lot to teach to those Nets that haven't experienced deep playoff runs.
Brooklyn has plenty of depth and veteran leadership, and that experience will lead the Nets past some of the woes that prevented the ballclub from beating the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs last season. There won't be any softness on the court this year with KG rallying his teammates to play as tough and with as much tenacity as possible.
Training camp will be exciting—particularly watching Jason Kidd's offense develop which, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN, is expected to feature fewer isolation sets and focus more on ball movement and spacing.
Joe Johnson said the following during media day, per ESPN:
I think we’re all at a point in our careers where (wanting to be the No. 1 option) is all behind us and we’re all a lot older and later in our careers to the point where statistically guys will check their egos at the door.
How the Nets stars perform in their new roles could lead to some really beautiful basketball, if everyone keeps their egos checked.
If Brooklyn hits a lull and loses a few games in a row and those egos start roaring with guys wanting the ball in their hands more, the season could get ugly.
Spacing and ball movement will be the key to keeping everyone happily involved in the offense.