Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Brooklyn Nets [Print without images]

Thursday, October 11, 2012
For D-Will and Joe, it's a matter of time

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Nets coach Avery Johnson says his goal is to play point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson 34 minutes per game during the regular season.

“The goal is to have them at 34,” Avery Johnson said Thursday. “Some nights maybe it’s 36, and other nights maybe it’s 30 or 32.

The Nets' coach thinks he’ll play center Brook Lopez, who appeared in just five games last season due to a foot injury, about 28 minutes per game to start the regular season.

“We may go 34 some nights, it just depends,” Avery Johnson said.

Williams has averaged 35.7 minutes per game during his career; Joe Johnson has averaged 36.7.

“Thirty-four is good,” Williams said. “But I don’t like to come out, so we’ll see how it goes.”

• During Thursday’s scrimmage, Avery Johnson put in a smaller lineup which featured C.J. Watson, Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Lopez.

“That’s a combination we like. We think C.J. is a good fourth-quarter player,” Avery Johnson said. “Deron we feel can score on 1s and 2s. It’s just a matter of how we can matchup defensively in the backcourt. We’d like to move Joe to some three, Gerald to the four and (Andray) Blatche at five.

Williams said he thinks it’s one of the Nets’ better lineups.

“I think it’s the first we’ve had it all training camp,” said Williams, who usually goes head-to-head with Watson in practice.

• In Saturday’s preseason opener, Avery Johnson wants to play 10-to-11 players, which make up the foundation core of his team’s rotation.

Avery Johnson thinks his starters are going to play around 26 minutes.

“We can’t just coast through the regular season and play those guys 12-to-15 minutes and play 16 guys,” Avery Johnson said.

The Nets coach did say that there will be one preseason game in which the starters don’t play.

• Quote of the practice: “I don’t want us to be a quiet team defensively this year.” -- Avery Johnson

• On Twitter, shooting guard MarShon Brooks said, “I could never live in the city of NY.”