Brooklyn Nets: Brooklyn Nets

D-Will surprised by Kidd's departure

September, 15, 2014
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NEW YORK –- Deron Williams was expected to flourish with Jason Kidd coaching him from the sideline.

Instead, Williams and Kidd’s partnership in Brooklyn lasted just one season, after Kidd departed for Milwaukee in late June.

Williams said the two haven’t spoken since Kidd left.

[+] EnlargeKidd/Williams
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesDeron Williams, left, said he hasn't spoken to Jason Kidd since the ex-Nets coach abruptly departed.
“I think it surprised everybody,” Williams said at his Celebrity Dodge Barrage charity event at Basketball City. “I don’t think anybody saw that coming. It was out of nowhere.”

A year ago, Williams and Kidd were about to begin their first season together as player and coach. Kidd was supposed to get Williams back to playing like an elite point guard.

Williams, though, was not healthy and had issues with his ankle going into training camp. He would need surgery on both of his ankles after the season.

Williams said he is looking forward to being healthy and ready to go for the start of camp Sept. 27.

“Last year was tough," Williams said. "I missed pretty much all of training camp, most of the preseason. I practiced one time, played nine minutes in a preseason game and was thrown into the fire. I was probably about 60 to 70 percent. It is definitely different this year. I think it’s great that I will be able to participate in training camp and I am practicing with the guys right now.”

"[Returning to All-Star form is] definitely the plan," he continued. "Anytime you can’t walk, you can’t run, you can’t jump, it’s hard to play basketball, especially in this league. The only thing I wish is that I would’ve gotten surgery earlier. But what can you do? ... I’m ready to go now, and I’m excited about the season."

Williams is looking forward to forging a “great relationship” with new coach Lionel Hollins. But he also wishes Kidd the best.

“I don’t even know enough about the situation,” Williams said when asked whether he was disappointed to see Kidd leave. “I have heard a lot of different things, as you guys probably have. I don’t know what exactly happened, but we are excited about Lionel Hollins being our next coach. We wish J-Kidd the best of luck in Milwaukee, but we are excited about Lionel.”

Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge -- Williams held his annual Dodgeball charity event, and several of his teammates joined him. Andrei Kirilenko, Mason Plumlee, Jarrett Jack, Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson, Sergey Karasev and coach Hollins were among those who attended the event.

Burning Q's: Who's the most vital sub?

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
12:33
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Jaret JackDon Emmert/AFP/Getty ImagesCan Jarrett Jack forget his Cavs days and recapture the game he displayed at Golden State?
With training camp a few weeks away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Who is the Nets’ most important bench player?

In his first season as a Net, Jarrett Jack will be the most important sub for Lionel Hollins.

The Nets are hoping Jack can be the super-sub that he was for the Golden State Warriors. Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists while hitting 45.2 percent of his shots just two seasons ago, and he hit big shots in the postseason for Golden State.

SportsNation

Who will be the Nets' most important bench player?

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Discuss (Total votes: 342)

Last season, Jack’s averages dipped to 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 41 percent shooting for the Cavaliers. Jack is eager to show that his down season was more a product of his role and the offensive system in Cleveland.

With the Nets, Jack could be Hollins’ sixth man. He can spell Deron Williams at point guard and run the second unit. He also could potentially play alongside Williams.

In many ways, Jack will have to replace Shaun Livingston, who signed with Golden State in July; he could play multiple positions and often played alongside Williams.

The Nets have plenty of key contributors coming off the bench this season. Mason Plumlee is looking to continue his rise after helping Team USA win gold at the World Cup. With Brook Lopez coming off surgery and Kevin Garnett likely playing on minutes restriction this season, Plumlee will be a key big for the Nets and should see more minutes than his rookie season.

Andrei Kirilenko will be needed to provide energy, defense and his unique hustle plays. Mirza Teletovic will be looking to show that last season’s breakout year was no fluke and that he will continue to provide dead-eye shooting. And Alan Anderson should play a key role as Hollins’ best defender off the bench.

The Nets also hope to develop youngsters like Bojan Bogdanovic, Sergey Karasev and Markel Brown.

But Jack will be needed to provide a bit of everything. He has to give the team a boost off the bench, be able to heat up and hit some big shots, spell Williams, be ready to play both guard positions, and give the team an edge and provide some leadership with the second unit.

With Williams coming off surgeries on his ankles, Jack could see a bigger role early in the season and provide the Nets with a potential starter if Williams needs a night to rest his ankles. If Jack plays the way he did two seasons ago for the Warriors, the Nets will be thrilled with their offseason acquisition.

Question: Who do you think is the Nets' most important bench player?

Burning Q's: Who has the most pressure?

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
10:15
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With training camp a few weeks away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Who has the most pressure on him?

[+] EnlargeDeron Williams
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesComing off ankle surgeries, Deron Williams will be looking to regain his all-star form.
All eyes will be on Deron Williams once again. Yes, D-Will is coming off surgeries on his ankles and health is a concern again. And he has another new head coach and a new offensive system to get acclimated to.

Without a doubt, Williams has a lot to deal with besides just regaining his old All-Star form. But if the Nets are going to make any noise this season, Williams has to be the one to lead them on the court.

With Paul Pierce gone, the Nets become Williams’ team again. Last season, Pierce and Kevin Garnett constantly tried to build Williams’ confidence up and let him know that it was his team. But Williams’ achy ankles and wavering confidence never allowed him to be the point guard he used to be.

Also, Williams understandably deferred to Pierce at times last season as the Nets tried to meet enormous expectations following the Pierce and Garnett trade. In the playoffs, Williams was up and down with his low coming on an 0-for-9, zero-point outing in Game 2 against Miami.

Now with Pierce gone, Williams is the man who has to take over the reins.

Pierce
Johnson
Sure, Joe Johnson will be counted on as usual for his steady scoring and clutch shooting at the end of games. But Johnson is not the vocal type. KG is still around to provide the vocal leadership but his playing time might be reduced from last season.

Like Williams, Brook Lopez is returning from surgery and the Nets will incorporate their big man back into the mix.

But it’s Williams who has to make the Nets his team again. A confident and dominant Williams is what can take the Nets from a team contending for a playoff spot to a team that could get past the first round. When Williams kicks it into another gear, the Nets do the same.

Jason Kidd tried to let Williams concentrate on scoring by putting the ball in Shaun Livingston’s hands more and playing the two point guards together. With Kidd and Livingston both gone, new coach Lionel Hollins is ready to hand the ball to Williams.

Like Kidd last offseason, Hollins is reiterating that this is Williams’ team.

“He’s a point guard," Hollins told the New York Post of Williams. “He’s our point guard. Will we play Jarrett Jack and Deron together? I’m sure we will. But that doesn’t mean Deron has to be off the ball. When you have two guys who can handle the ball, it doesn’t matter who handles it, but he’s going to be the primary ballhandler."

First, Deron has to regain confidence in his ankles. That might take some time. So the Nets will have to be patient.

But this is Williams’ team. The Nets will go as far as a healthy Williams can take them.

Question: Which Net has the most pressure on him?

Burning Q's: Can Jack replace Livingston?

September, 1, 2014
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With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Can Jarrett Jack replace Shaun Livingston?

This is what Jason Kidd envisioned happening last season, when the Nets were exploring trade opportunities before the February trading deadline.

[+] EnlargeJarrett Jack
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsJarrett Jack has pretty big shoes to fill, replacing Shaun Livingston.
The Nets knew there was a strong likelihood of losing Livingston in free agency. Jack was a prime candidate as a combo guard who might be able to ease the blow of Livingston’s pending departure.

Even after Kidd left for Milwaukee, the Nets decided to acquire Jack in a trade, basically to replace Livingston. Like Livingston, Jack is capable of playing point guard and shooting guard. Jack can get hot offensively, fast. He is two seasons removed from averaging 15.6 points and 6.3 assists in 45 games for New Orleans back in 2011-'12. The following season, Jack averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 assists and shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in 79 games for Golden State.

And Jack starred in the postseason, averaging 17.2 points, 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 12 playoff games for the Warriors in 2013.

Last season, though, Jack’s averages dipped to 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 34 percent shooting from 3-point range. The Nets will find out if Jack didn’t produce because of the situation he was in with the Cavaliers last season, or because his game is on the decline.

Nets GM Billy King is betting that he will be more like the Golden State Jack than the Cleveland Jack this season. It remains to be seen how coach Lionel Hollins will use Jack. But he has options.

Jack could come off the bench and be a super sub who can play either guard spot and provide scoring punch. Or Hollins could do what Kidd did with Livingston and play him alongside Deron Williams for stretches, allowing Jack to handle the ball and distribute while Williams concentrates on scoring. We will have to see if Jack can run the offense as smoothly as Livingston did.

What Jack can’t do that Livingston brought was the ability to be a dual threat in the post. The 6-foot-7 Livingston could score and pass out of the paint. Also, Livingston was a major asset defensively. Livingston could play and defend three different positions (point guard, shooting guard, small forward), and he sparked the defense with his active hands.

Jack likely won’t be able to duplicate those things. But he is as close to a replacement as the Nets could have found for Livingston. He won’t replace everything Livingston gave the Nets. But he can provide more scoring punch and some of the versatility in the backcourt Livingston brought.

Question: Do you think Jack will replace Livingston successfully this season?

Burning Q's: Can D-Will regain star form?

August, 29, 2014
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With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Will Deron Williams return to All-Star form?

Much of it depends on if Williams can make a full recovery physically and mentally after undergoing surgery on both of his ankles in May.

The physical part appears to be on track as Williams is said to be making progress. But it is in his and the Nets’ best interest for the point guard to take a cautious approach in camp.

[+] EnlargeDeron Williams
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesCan Deron Williams return to elite status in the NBA?
Since the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists, Williams’ game has been on the decline physically and mentally. Injuries took its toll on the point guard, who needs to hit the reset button and jump-start his game again.

Williams averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 assists in 2012-13 but saw those numbers dip to 14.3 points and 6.1 assists last season. He played in 64 games, missing time due to his sore ankles.

And he might’ve rushed back too soon after missing five games in the middle of January. Williams just rarely looked comfortable last season, playing well in spurts. He averaged 16.9 points and 5.6 assists in the first round against Toronto but saw those numbers dip in the second round against Miami to 11.2 points and 6.2 assists per game. During a Game 2 loss to the Heat, Williams went 0-for-9 from the field in 37 minutes and finished with no points, seven rebounds and six assists.

While Williams might not have been healthy, his confidence was also clearly far from being in peak form as well. Sports Illustrated recently did an in-depth interview with Kobe Bryant and also released a series of excerpts from the time with Bryant. During one excerpt on Bryant’s views on confidence, Williams’ 0-for-9 night came up.

SI wrote: Gotham Chopra, the director of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” an upcoming documentary on Bryant, told a story about being with Kobe and watching the Nets and the Heat play. Recounts Chopra, “Deron Williams went like 0-for-9. I was like, ‘Can you believe Deron Williams went 0-9?’ Kobe was like, ‘I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game, because Deron Williams can get more shots in the game. The only reason is because you've just now lost confidence in yourself."

And there is likely the answer to whether Williams can regain his All-Star form. First, he must recover physically. And then, perhaps even more important, Williams has to gain confidence again in his ankles and then build his confidence back up in his game.

Last season, he had to get used to having Jason Kidd as his coach, and he often deferred to Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson. Add on the fact that he wasn't feeling at his best physically, and you have a down year. He has to get back to feeling like he is "The Man" on the team again. That’s going to take time.

I believe he can average 18-to-20 points and double-figure assists again. Reaching those averages this season will be difficult, given his offseason surgery and having to learn a new coach and system again. The Nets also still have Johnson, and Brook Lopez is also making his own return from surgery. With no Shaun Livingston, Williams should have the ball in his hands more. And with Pierce in Washington, Williams has to take this team and make it his team.

Williams, 30, has three years remaining on his contract. He has plenty of time to regain his All-Star form, and I think he can. I just wonder if it will happen in Brooklyn or if he might need a fresh start somewhere else to get back to the old D-Will.

Question: Will we see Williams regain his All-Star form with the Nets again?

Burning Q's: Can Plumlee take next step?

August, 27, 2014
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With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining the burning questions facing the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: Will Mason Plumlee take the next step?

In some ways, Plumlee is in the process of taking that next step already. Making the final Team USA roster has been the type of experience for Plumlee that is simply priceless for the Nets.

SportsNation

Will Mason Plumlee take the next step this season?

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Discuss (Total votes: 412)

Think about it: How does Plumlee spend a pivotal summer entering his second pro season? By practicing daily against the likes of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kenneth Faried and Andre Drummond, while playing alongside and learning from stars like James Harden, Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry. And he’s being coached by Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Thibodeau and Jim Boeheim.

Sure, his experience playing for Coach K at Duke helped his cause. But give Plumlee some credit. The bottom line is he made a very talented roster. All Plumlee can do is get better from this. Without a doubt, his confidence is going to rise.

After averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds, largely contributing with his energy and athleticism off the bench, as a rookie, Plumlee returns for his second season with the Nets knowing he can compete against some of the best young big men in the game.

Even if he doesn’t play much in the FIBA World Cup, Plumlee has spent his entire summer playing, working on his game and learning from the best.

Plumlee has worked on his midrange jumper, a facet of his game that he must add to complement his rebounding and athletic, above-the-rim game inside. Plumlee also has to work on his back-to-the-basket game, as well.

The one downside of Plumlee being with the Nets is that he won’t play heavy starter-type minutes with Brook Lopez returning and Kevin Garnett expected to return.

Plumlee isn’t expected to start unless Lopez and Garnett get hurt. It's always possible he could see some starts if Lopez and Garnett are rested, especially on back-to-backs. He's capable of playing both center and power forward. Also, Andray Blatche isn't around to take up minutes.

Lionel Hollins should find Plumlee enough time to contribute and develop. And after this summer’s valuable Team USA experience, Plumlee will return and be surrounded by veterans like Lopez, Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko for a second season.

The 22nd overall pick from last year became a surprise contributor. This season, Plumlee will have an even more defined role, should see more minutes and should have chances to prove himself as a starter when Lopez and Garnett get rested. That all leads to a step in the right direction for Plumlee, whose career is on the rise.

Question: Do you believe Plumlee will take the next step this season?

Burning Q's: How much does KG have left?

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
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Kevin GarnettESPN IllustrationIf Kevin Garnett returns, how much value can he still bring to the Nets?
With training camp less than two months away, we’re examining some burning questions with the Brooklyn Nets.

Today’s question: How much does Kevin Garnett have left?

The Nets have said that all indications are that Garnett is returning for a 20th season.

However, the Boston Globe recently caught up with Garnett’s old coach Doc Rivers. He said he has been in touch with Garnett and that he wasn’t totally sure what Garnett will do.

SportsNation

How much gas does Kevin Garnett have left?

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“We talked a couple of times, but the worst time I could talk to Kevin is right after the season, but I hear both [that he wants to play and that he wants to retire],” Rivers told the Globe. “I get a feeling he still wants to play, but I just don’t know.

“Kevin, in the summer, goes into hiding. Which is something I’ve always had a lot of respect for. I think more players should do that instead of doing all the stuff all summer; you see players everywhere. The reason Kevin has been able to play so long is during the offseason he goes underground. He recuperates. Not just physically.”

Let’s just assume Garnett returns, which raises the question: How much does he have left?

That question is really more for the playoffs than the regular season. I just don’t see the Nets playing Garnett a lot in the regular season as Lionel Hollins will likely take a similar approach to Jason Kidd by resting Garnett on back-to-backs and limiting his minutes.

Garnett averaged 20.5 minutes a game last season and might average slightly less than that this campaign. He played in 54 games in 2013-14 and will probably play around that number or fewer if his health holds up. He averaged 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, but his value is more than statistics. It’s his ability to communicate on defense and get guys in the right place. His experience and leadership on and off the floor is valuable, and he can mentor Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee.

If Hollins can keep Garnett’s playing time down, I think KG can provide the Nets with 20 minutes of solid defense and rebounding in the playoffs. That could be plenty if Lopez is healthy and playing at full strength in the postseason.

If Lopez is healthy, the Nets won’t have to rely as heavily as they did on Garnett in the paint in the second round of the playoffs against the Heat. Also, Plumlee, a promising young big man, should continue to develop. So Garnett should have enough left in the tank to help the Nets similar to last season.

I know he faded down the stretch in that second round. I think he can be more like he was in the first round against Toronto, when he scored in double figures in four of the seven games and posted a double-double in Game 7.

Perhaps the bigger question with Garnett is how happy he will be this season. His close buddy Paul Pierce has gone to Washington after the Nets opted to go in a different direction. Kidd, the coach who helped persuade Garnett to waive his no-trade clause to come to Brooklyn in the first place, is also gone.

KG is a professional, though. If he decides to return, he will give all that he has on the court. And I think he has enough left in the tank to still be a key contributor.

Positional analysis: Coaching

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
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Lionel HollinsAP Photo/Seth WenigLionel Hollins looks to install a new system following Jason Kidd's sudden departure.
Now that free agency has died down, we’re taking a look at where the Nets currently stand position-by-position. Today, we look at the coaching.

COACHING:

New additions: head coach Lionel Hollins, assistants Paul Westphal, Tony Brown, Joe Wolf and Jay Humphries.

Gone: head coach Jason Kidd, assistants Joe Prunty, Eric Hughes, Sean Sweeney.

Strengths: After going through last season with a first-time coach in Kidd, the Nets opted for a much more experienced man in Hollins. The defensive-minded coach should be a good fit with a unit that improved in the second half of last season. The no-nonsense coach is tough and should be ideal for the Nets' veteran-laden roster. He has worked well with big men like Marc Gasol, which should bode well for Brook Lopez.

Potential obstacles: With the Nets, health is a big key. Hollins will have to do what he can to keep Deron Williams and Lopez healthy after both underwent surgery during or at the end of last season. Kevin Garnett is one year older and Hollins will have to manage his minutes and games. The Nets lost Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston -- two key pieces -- in free agency. They basically replaced the veterans with combo guard Jarrett Jack and some younger, developing players, like Bojan Bogdanovic, Sergey Karasev and second-round picks Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson. Hollins will have to try to keep the Nets in contention while also developing some younger players. On top of all this, the Nets will be learning a new system from a new coach for the second time in a year.

Biggest challenge: Due in part to injuries, Kidd was not able to get Williams to play at a high level last season. Now, Hollins will try to get his star guard playing at an All-Star level again. Getting healthy is a major key for D-Will. And regaining his confidence and happiness is just as big. Can Hollins get the best out of him?

What they’re saying: “When I look at this team I look at some veteran players that can score, some young guys that are coming up and need to be developed,” Hollins said. “And when we start talking about style, I have to sit down and see through watching the tape just exactly what we want to do. I know that I want to play at a little quicker pace than they even played at, that we played at in Memphis. But I don’t want to run up and down the court and jack up shots. I want to be aggressive. I want to be tough defensively. I want to be tough mentally.”

Outlook: Kidd took over a team as a first-year head coach under win-now expectations. Hollins takes over now with the franchise lowering its championship aspirations after letting Pierce walk in free agency. The Nets still want to contend and make the playoffs. But they are realistic about their title hopes. In the offseason, the Nets wanted to get younger and more athletic but maintain a veteran core that can get to the playoffs. Hollins will have to balance it all and monitor and maintain the health of Williams, Lopez and Garnett.

Kidd had a rocky first season at the start before turning it around in the second half. But throughout it all, he maintained the respect of his veteran players. Now, Hollins will have to win over vets like KG, get the best out of D-Will and develop the likes of Bogdanovic and Karasev all while installing his system and establishing a new culture. After being out of basketball since 2013, Hollins has been itching for another crack. He comes to the Nets humbled and motivated. And the team will be looking to him to establish stability after the franchise’s dramatic split with Kidd.

Hollins: Deron and Brook are 'healthy'

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
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The Nets are still about a month and a half away from training camp starting.

Williams
Williams
But Lionel Hollins is excited about having a healthy Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. In an interview with Newsday, the Nets coach said his point guard and center -– both coming off surgeries –- are healthy and working out.

“You can't be where you want to be unless you're healthy,” Hollins said, according to the newspaper. “And you can't get in shape unless you're healthy. If you are injured all summer, there's no way you can work out.

"Deron is healthy, Brook is healthy and they are both able to work out."

Lopez
Lopez
Williams underwent surgery on both of his ankles on May 27. Last season, Williams battled ankle injuries throughout the season starting from training camp. The hope is he can come into this year's camp healthy and start the season off feeling his best.

Lopez had surgery in December after breaking his right foot. He later had surgery in March on his left ankle. Lopez told reporters this week that he has been “fully cleared for play and everything about a week and a half ago now.”

This is all good news for the Nets’ newest coach.

“Conditioning is something they both will be able to work on as they move forward,” Hollins said. “And when you are in shape you can go out, and try things, and do things because naturally if you are successful, your confidence rises. That's the only way I look at it and that's my approach."

Plumlee 'likely' pick over Cousins

July, 31, 2014
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Mason Plumlee continues to impress in the USA Basketball Men’s National Team training camp.

So much so that ESPN's Brian Windhorst believes the Nets' second-year pro could make the squad over Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins.

It certainly sounds like a shocker, considering the talent of Cousins. But Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski coached Plumlee at Duke, so Coach K certainly is familiar with Plumlee.

According to the USA Basketball website, Plumlee will suit up on the Blue Team during Friday’s USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Plumlee has a chance to play his way onto the roster.

“Mason has a chance to go forward,” Krzyzewski said, according to USAB.com.

No matter what happens, Plumlee has gained valuable experience this week practicing with some of the best in the game. And that is a very good thing for the Nets as Plumlee continues to look more and more like a major steal at No. 22 overall in the 2013 draft.

Nets' preseason schedule set

July, 31, 2014
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The Nets' preseason will be busy and have an international flair to it.

Brooklyn announced its six-game schedule, which includes an opener against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Barclays Center and a two-game trip to China against Sacramento. The Nets will close their preseason with three games (Boston, Philadelphia and Boston) in four days.

However, the Nets won't play against the Knicks for the second straight preseason.

It remains to be seen how much Deron Williams and Brook Lopez will participate during the preseason. With both coming off surgeries, the team is likely to be cautious with its two young stars.

Preseason schedule

Oct. 7: vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (Barclays Center)
Oct. 12: at Sacramento (Shanghai, China)
Oct. 15: vs Sacramento (Beijing, China)
Oct. 19: vs Boston (Barclays Center)
Oct. 20: vs Philadelphia (Barclays Center)
Oct. 22: at Boston (TD Garden)

Nets announce coaching staff

July, 30, 2014
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Hollins
Hollins
The Nets officially announced Lionel Hollins’ coaching staff.

Former head coach Paul Westphal, Tony Brown, Joe Wolf and Jay Humphries are joining John Welch and Jim Sann on the Nets coaching staff.

Westphal is the most experienced coach on staff with over 20 years of experience which includes head coaching stints with Phoenix, Seattle and Sacramento. Westphal is 318-279 (.532) overall as a head coach.

Brown was an assistant coach under Dallas’ Rick Carlisle for the previous three seasons. He’s also been an assistant with the Clippers, Bucks, Celtics, Raptors, Pistons and Blazers.

Wolf spent five seasons as an assistant under Scott Skiles in Milwaukee from 2008-’13. Humphries joins the Nets’ staff after spending 13 years as a coach in the NBA, NBA D-League and overseas.

Welch and Sann are the two holdovers from last season under Jason Kidd. Welch returns after serving as Kidd’s lead assistant last season following the demotion of Lawrence Frank.

Sann will serve as an assistant coach/advance scout.

Position analysis: Shooting guard

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
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Johnson/WilliamsMaddie Meyer/Getty ImagesJoe Johnson will probably have carry the scoring load until the team is sure about D-Will's health.
Now that free agency has died down, we’re taking a look at where the Nets currently stand position-by-position. Today, we look at shooting guard.

SHOOTING GUARD

New additions:
PG/SG Jarrett Jack, SG Markel Brown, G/F Sergey Karasev.

Returning/on roster: PG/SG Deron Williams, SG/SF Joe Johnson, SG/SF Alan Anderson.

Gone: SG Marcus Thornton.

The starter: Johnson. Unless Lionel Hollins opts to start a two point guard backcourt of Jack and Williams, Johnson should be his starting two.

The wild card: Brown. There's a good chance Brown doesn't see enough minutes to become a contributor. However, the second-round pick is an explosive athlete and the Nets need more athleticism and above-the-rim play. Williams could start slowly coming off offseason surgery which means Brown could have opportunities in camp early on to impress.

Outlook: Hollins has a few options at shooting guard. He will lean heavily on Johnson for steady scoring. Toward the end of last season and in the playoffs, Johnson showed that he can still carry the load offensively for the Nets. He averaged 15.8 points during the regular season and raised that to 21.2 points per game in the postseason. With Williams coming off surgery, the Nets will want to make sure their former All-Star is healthy before playing him heavy minutes. Until then, Johnson will have to carry the load. If Hollins goes small, he can play Jack and Williams together with Johnson sliding to small forward. Anderson will be one of Hollins’ best defenders and his role could increase with Paul Pierce gone. Like Brown, the Nets would also like to develop Karasev, who could potentially play guard and small forward.

Question: Should Hollins go small and start Williams at shooting guard and slide Johnson to small forward?

Position analysis: Point guard

July, 28, 2014
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Jarrett JackAnthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports New acquisition Jarrett Jack is a scoring point guard who can start in case D-Wil isn't healthy.
Now that free agency has died down, we’re taking a look at where the Nets currently stand position-by-position. Today, we look at point guard.

POINT GUARD

New additions: PG/SG Jarrett Jack, PG Xavier Thames.

Returning/on roster: PG Deron Williams, PG Jorge Gutierrez, PG Marquis Teague.

Gone: PG Shaun Livingston.

The starter: Williams is the starting point guard unless new coach Lionel Hollins decides to go with a two point guard lineup like Jason Kidd did with Livingston and Williams. If that’s the case, Hollins could start Jack alongside Williams. Health remains the biggest question mark surrounding Williams, who hopes to come back stronger than before after surgery on his ankles.

The wild card: Jack. The guard saw his numbers dip last season to averages of 9.5 points, 4.1 assists and 41% shooting overall for the Cavs. But in 2012-’13, Jack averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 assists and 45% shooting while in Golden State. He also hit big shots in the postseason and was fearless for the Warriors. The Nets are hoping to get that Jack to replace the departed Livingston. Jack’s value also is that he is a scoring point guard who can start in case Williams isn’t healthy.

Outlook: The Nets’ season could very well be determined by their point guard play. The Nets need Williams to regain his health, confidence and All-Star game again. Losing Livingston in free agency was a major blow. And losing Kidd also has an impact on the point guard play as well since he could provide his future Hall-of-Fame vision from the bench. But if Williams and Jack can regain their former play and have a good season, the Nets will benefit greatly. This position is the most important position for the Nets this season.

Question: How big of a loss is losing Kidd and Livingston for the Nets' point guard play this season?
Jarrett Jack isn’t sure what his role will be with the Nets just yet but he believes he can help ease the blow of losing Shaun Livingston.

Jack said he is open to coming off the bench or starting alongside Deron Williams and helping Williams in any way that he can.

“I think I can be someone who can kind of relieve Deron at times, you know the ball-handling responsibilities,” Jack said in a conference call with reporters. “A person that is trying to create opportunities for myself or for my teammates.”

Jack, 30, is thrilled to be joining the Nets. Brooklyn sent Marcus Thornton to Boston and the draft rights to Ilkan Karaman, Christian Drejer and Edin Bavcic to Cleveland.

In return for helping Cleveland clear needed cap space for the possibility of landing LeBron James, the Nets get Jack and Russian prospect Sergey Karasev. The Nets were high on Karasev in the 2013 draft. Karasev went 19th overall and the Nets drafted Mason Plumlee with the 22nd pick in that draft.

Brooklyn has had its eyes on Jack since before the trading deadline from this past season. The Nets envisioned Jack as a combo guard who could hit big shots and deliver scoring punch off the bench while also providing the team with insurance in the case that Livingston departs. Livingston agreed to a deal with Golden State at the start of free agency.

Jack averaged 15.6 points and 6.3 assists for New Orleans in 45 games during 2011-’12. The next season in Golden State, Jack averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 assists. He stepped up in the postseason for the Warriors, averaging 17.2 points in 12 playoff games in 2012-’13.

But last season in Cleveland, Jack’s numbers dropped to 9.5 points and 4.1 assists per game.

“You know, in certain situations you’re asked to do certain things, and in other situations you aren’t,” Jack explained. “I was more of a facilitator and had less scoring punch than I was accustomed to being and I think that was more so the cause of it than anything.”

Jack says he is ready to do whatever new coach Lionel Hollins wants him to do.

“I’m definitely trying to go out there and compete for a job,” Jack said. “And whether that’s being in the starting lineup or coming off the bench, I’ll be happy to fit in any way possible.”

“I’m tremendously excited,” Jack added. “There’s a lot of guys I have admired from afar that I can be teammates with now. I think that’s the most intriguing part. But I definitely think we have the potential to do some damage in the East and make some noise, and be the force that people expected Brooklyn to be last year.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Brook Lopez
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8