Nets Starting Five 10/30/13

Updated: October 30, 2013


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“It hasn’t really sunk in,” he admitted. “[But seeing] my jersey up in the locker room, being in this arena, trying to know my way around the city … it’s become real. I’m no longer a Boston Celtic. I’m a Brooklyn Net.” Assuming this was their cue, the fans again swelled up with hoots and hollers.

But Pierce wasn’t declaring his loyalty — he was trying on the phrase to see how it fit. Under the shouts, Pierce kept talking, sounding more or less like an insurance firm manager settling his affairs after a lateral promotion that moved him from Dayton to Cleveland. “That’s what it is right now. It’s a business. At some point we all have to move on, and I’m here to try to create some kind of legacy here in Brooklyn.”


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Garnett, who spoke in generalities while discussing how egos infiltrate a locker room, was fiercely loyal to Rivers.

“That’s when people can’t get over themselves,” he said. “When you give yourself to the team and to what you’re talking about as the common goal, you don’t have that being a problem. I can attest to that. I’ve been a part of a group of talented guys like this team here, and usually when you have problems where you’re head-butting and stuff, it’s because guys can’t get over their egos or whoever they think they are, or someone has been continuously telling them who they are.

“When you come together as a team, you take your faults, I’ll take mine, and we’re gonna go forward with that. If we’re both talking about winning, when it comes to winning times there won’t be any problems. We’ll figure it out and there will be a common ground.”


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There are questions: Can they stay healthy? Can Jason Kidd coach? Can they jell quickly? Can D-Will return to his elite point guard status? Can they compete with Miami?

How would you define success for the Nets? Is it a championship? A grind-it-out seven-game series with Indiana, Miami or Chicago in the second round? A trip to the Eastern Conference finals?


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“We’re really excited about this season,” Deron Williams said. “Everybody’s excited to get this thing going.

“We feel like we have a chance to compete with anyone … it’s going to be an enjoyable year, a fun ride.”

It’s a ride the Nets and their fans have been waiting to begin ever since general manager Billy King pulled off the blockbuster move of the offseason on draft night in June — landing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Celtics.

“The marathon officially starts [Wednesday],” coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ve had a pretty good training camp … and I think the guys are excited about the start of [the season].”


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The Nets haven’t downplayed their title aspirations one bit. Instead, they’ve approached them with open arms, squeezing them tightly enough to choke off the air supply, even with a rookie coach in Jason Kidd.

“Who doesn’t want championship expectations?” said Paul Pierce, one of the Nets’ key offseason acquisitions. “You look around this locker room and it’s a lot of veterans in here, a lot of guys that have made their money, made big contracts and played in All-Star Games. It’s like, ‘What more do you want?’

“It’s a championship. These guys always dream of winning it all. The guys who don’t make the playoffs or the guys who get bounced early, you look up and see the teams that win championships and you’re like, ‘Man, I want to be in that position.’ And now you have a team that can be in that position. It’s great to have high expectations, and we’re going to embrace them.”


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