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(November 5, 2013)
BROOKLYN—Throughout training camp and preseason, the Nets have been asked about the two probable scenarios that could play out this season:
They could come together like the 2008 Boston Celtics did in Kevin Garnett's first season with the team, and win the NBA title.
Or they could come up short, like the Heat did in 2011, the first season LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami.
"It's tough to say,'' Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said recently when asked about the gelling of teams that acquire superstars. "Every team is different.''
"Because of what we went through three years ago doesn't make us resident experts on what another team will go through when they're put together. It's almost impossible. We all thought it would go easier and more seamless than what it was.''
Going into tonight's game (7:30, YES, WFAN) against the struggling Utah Jazz, the Nets certainly seemed like a team leaning towards coming up a little short.
The Nets (1-2) simply didn't show up Sunday evening in Orlando and got waxed, 108-87. Then came these alarming words from center Brook Lopez.
"We're definitely better than this team but we didn't show it tonight,'' said Lopez. "Didn't look like it.''
He forgot two crucial words: On paper.
On paper, the Nets are vastly more talented and experienced than Orlando. They are vastly more talented and experienced than Utah – on paper.
That guarantees nothing. And the Nets need to learn that right now, in early November, or Barclays Center might be empty in early June.
We have heard one uniformed talking point from the Nets: This is a process.
Yes, this is a process. This is a new team with a new coaching staff and new expectations.