Get this: MarShon Brooks is the only Net whose contract was not touched during the offseason. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace all re-signed, and the rest of the Nets are newbies.
With all of the new faces, Brooks said it's paramount that each player uses training camp, which starts in early October, to understand how they can help the team in different ways.
"I think the challenging part for us is everybody just finding out their roles," Brooks said Thursday from Moscow, where he's participating in the NBA's first Basketball Without Borders program in Russia. "We have a lot of different scorers on this team, so everybody has to get on the same page. I think everything will be all right. We have a solid 13, 14, 15 guys that can play in this league, so I think if we can just go out there and play hard and play together, everything else will come."
For Brooks, that means being the first man off the bench. In fact, his personal goal is to win the Sixth Man Award. Some of his motivation comes from the Thunder's James Harden, who won the award last season and then helped lead his team to the Finals.
"I feel like the sixth man is a much more important role these days. It's used a lot of different," Brooks said. "I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with the Thunder's perspective. I think with James Harden coming off the bench, they could run their offense through him -- and that's what I can do. I'm just going to provide that spark for the team in any way possible. I'm going to look to create opportunities for my teammates as well as score the ball."
Brooks believes his skills set in the second unit will help the Nets play small at times, where he can be the shooting guard and Joe Johnson can play the three or four. Brooks said that situation will be especially helpful to match up with the the Heat and Knicks when LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are playing more out of the post.
"That's what the league is becoming -- a more versatile game," Brooks said, "so to match up with the top teams in the East, they have a big unit and they have a small unit. So it's good to have that option of going small with me."
Reflecting on his rookie campaign, Brooks said he found that scoring came easier, but defensive maneuvers, like fighting through screens, was tougher. So in addition to training and playing pickup games in Atlanta, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Providence, R.I. (where he played college ball), he spent the summer bulking up by working with Dr. Jeremy Bettle, the Nets' strength and conditioning coach.
Brooks will be catching up with Bettle next week in East Rutherford, N.J., where the full team will be present at the practice facility.
"I'm excited to see the fellas and build chemistry because there's a lot of guys on the team that I don't even know," he said. "So just getting out there on the court as soon as possible is definitely huge."
Brooks laughed about being the only Net without a contract negotiation, but he recognizes all of the offseason moves made the Nets more competitive in the tough Atlantic Division.
"There was a lot of movement going on, but overall I think we did a great job of going into Brooklyn with the team on the table," he said. "We have a chance to win every single night, so I think Brooklyn fans can really appreciate that. It was a huge offseason."
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