Brooklyn Nets: Nets shootaround

Shootaround: One that got away

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
1:17
PM ET
The Nets wanted Andrei Kirilenko.

Problem was, they had only the veteran’s minimum to spend.

So Kirilenko wound up signing a two-year, $20 million free-agent contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason.

Nets point guard Deron Williams, Kirilenko's ex-teammate in Utah, said Monday that he tried to recruit AK-47.

“We just didn’t have enough money,” Williams said. “That’s not a secret.”

Kirilenko, 31, played for CSKA Moscow, which was formerly owned by Mikhail Prokhorov, from 1998 to 2001. Through two games this season, he’s averaging 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists for the Timberwolves.

“He definitely was on our list,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “That guy with a skill set like that. I’ve always been a fan: He plays hard; he plays defense; he dives on the floor; he blocks shots; he goes backdoor; he’s improved his shot. When he was in Utah, I thought he was awfully good when he was healthy, so there was some discussion.”

• The Timberwolves (1-1) are missing their two most dynamic players: Kevin Love (fractured right hand) and Ricky Rubio (torn ACL/MCL, left knee).

But the Nets aren’t about to look past Minnesota.

“I think a lot of times when teams are missing their best players, they actually come out and play their best basketball, because guys know they have to step up, and really they have nothing to lose,” D-Will said. “They still have capable players on that roster, so we can’t overlook them because they’re missing a couple guys.”

In Williams’ first two seasons with the Nets, they couldn’t look past anyone.

“Yeah, it feels a lot better,” D-Will said when asked about that. “But we’ve only won one game, so we haven’t done much. We could play a lot better than we did against Toronto, and that’s what we’ll look to do tonight.”

• The Nets allowed the Raptors to shoot 62.5 percent and score 35 points in the first quarter.

Johnson wasn’t pleased.

“We almost blew up the defensive rating in the first quarter,” Johnson joked. “When I showed them the number, at first they thought I was being mean, but I backed it up with video to show them what I was talking about.

“It improved significantly in the second quarter and throughout the rest of the game, but like I said, [if we play] the defense we played in the first quarter, we aren’t going to be able to beat any teams in this league.”

So how do they fix it?

“We gotta come out with more energy -- especially on the defensive end,” D-Will said. “There’s really no excuses for slow starts. It’s a problem we had last year, and we don’t want to get into those same habits, because a first quarter could determine a game.”

• Deron Williams is one of the lone New Yorkers who went undefeated over the weekend.

Not only did his Nets beat the Raptors, but his Steelers also squeaked by the Giants.

D-Will was in attendance at MetLife, sporting a Troy Polamalu jersey in his luxury box.

“It’s a good win for us, I was happy about that. I like it,” he said.

• Funny line from Johnson about 37-year-old Jerry Stackhouse being active due to the injuries to Gerald Wallace and Josh Childress.

“The old man is taking off his expensive suit and he’s going to dress tonight,” Johnson said.

Nets shootaround: Lee sees Brooklyn's edge

October, 18, 2012
10/18/12
2:26
PM ET
Boston’s Courtney Lee was part of the New Jersey team that went 12-70 three seasons ago at the Meadowlands.

“I think they’ve improved a lot with the ownership, Jay-Z doing concerts here. I think they’ve done a complete 180,” Lee said Thursday. “I was in the Meadowlands and the Izod Center, and this is totally different.”

When Lee was in the Garden State, the Nets weren’t sure if Brooklyn was going to happen.

“There was still a 50-50 chance when I was there,” Lee said. “Then I left, and midway through the next season, there was a commitment to get it done.”

Lee was most impressed with the $1 billion Barclays Center’s car elevator.

“That’s definitely crazy, man,” he said.

As for if the Nets are on par with the Celtics and Heat in the Eastern Conference, Lee responded, “It’s still too early to determine, but by roster, they’re a good team.”

• The NBA implemented a rule change to get its games started faster, putting in a 90-second clock between player introductions and tipoff.

“It’s kind of quick,” point guard Deron Williams said. “I don’t really have a routine. I just take off all my stuff, give everybody a high-five and try to get out there, and I was rushed last time. It’s a little short, but it is what it is.”

• Williams watched the premiere of “The Association: Brooklyn Nets” on NBA TV.

“I thought they did a great job. It was really well-done,” Williams said.

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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