Pump the brakes for those parade projects. Stop expecting any June celebration.
Despite the long absence of Kyrie Irving’s season, the Nets can be considered a pre-season favorite, but they have progressed year on year.
“There are expectations and pressures, and honestly, we have a long way to go,” head coach Steve Nash said after Saturday’s practice in Brooklyn. “I feel like we’re on the court [together]Like, practices and games, maybe 15 times. This is a very time consuming thing to become a finished product.
“But can we get a decent start? Can we play well enough to get started? Can we handle some of the shortcomings of a small camp and a lot of new players? Is the boys still trying to go into conditioning? That’s fine.”
The team that the Nets finished last season in June was very different from the team that took the court on Tuesday against the Bucks to open this season. Irving, because he refused to comply with New York City’s orders and get the Kovid-19 vaccine, may not set foot on the ground at all times. LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap and Patty Mills are the most notable additions to the Nets.
The depth of the list certainly seems to have improved behind superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden, but new pieces may take time to mesh. Very new and the early schedule is challenging, starting with the opening week and featuring games against the pre-conference powers Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
The biggest adjustment is how to change Irving’s irreplaceable production. Some of that could fall on Mills, a 33-year veteran who signed a two-year, $ 12 million deal in the off-season and was initially considered a super-sub. You can hear more of Joe Harris or newcomer Jevon Carter, who was impressed in the preseason, in which he averaged 10.8 points. However, no player can replicate Irving with his superior shot making, creativity and overall offensive prowess.
“Kevin is Kevin and James is James and Joe is Joe,” forward Blake Griffin said. “But the people who support them, including me, we must do our job and do it better.”
One positive aspect of this dynamic is that the Nets have a good portion of training camp to prepare for, as the organization decided on Monday that they will not be part of the franchise until they become a full-time member of the team. . The overwhelming story of the past few weeks has been whether the Nets allow Irving to play alone on the road or take the tough route like him. Controversy can adversely affect a less experienced team.
“I think somebody younger might be more distracted, but the boys are tied up,” Aldridge said.
The uncertainty surrounding Irving and the novelty of this roster has not stopped experts from establishing the Nets as early favorites to win the NBA title. Hall of Fame player and Turner Sports Analyst Reggie Miller and former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy on Friday are Durant and Harden healthy. And as the season approaches, the Nets are in good health, with a lot of players still working at a high level, Nash said.
“[We’re in a] Privileged position. I have good players. People think highly of us, but we must earn it, ”Nash said. “We have to prove it every day. Obviously we’re under the man, so everybody has to step up.
“We have had our whole year, we have to find solutions to our shortcomings, find solutions to our weaknesses and continue to grow, and at the end of the year we are in a position to compete for the championship.”