BROOKLYN—There is one goal, and only goal, for the Brooklyn Nets this season – win it all.
Which means it’s never too soon to start worrying.
The fact that the Nets lost their preseason home opener to the Detroit Pistons, 99-88, is irrelevant in the grand scheme.
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The way they lost, and a right ankle injury suffered by point guard Tyshawn Taylor, squelched a lot of the good karma generated by the 16,331 fans that got their first look at Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the Barclays Center court in Brooklyn Nets jerseys.
“It felt like the first day of school," said Garnett.
Emotionally, it ended in detention.
Before the game, Coach Jason Kidd gave the first indication that the right ankle injury suffered by Deron Williams in an off season workout might be more problematic than thought.
Williams suffered a sprained right ankle and bone bruise in a summer workout in Utah. Kidd said on Friday that Williams, who has done nothing more than shooting drills in training camp, will miss the next three preseason games.
When asked if he was comfortable starting Williams in the regular season opener if he didn’t play in the preseason, Kidd hedged.
“This is going to be a question that we’re probably going to have to deal with every day until he does get the green light to go,’’ said Kidd. “But we’re not rushing him. So, if we have to start the season with him still trying to get better, I think we all feel comfortable, but we would feel a little bit more comfortable if he was starting."
That leaves the point guard duties to Shaun Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor.
Taylor suffered what he described as a badly sprained right ankle in the first half and was in a walking boot.
“It’s pretty sore right now," said Taylor. “They told me it might swell up tonight so just keep some ice on it, keep it elevated and we’ll go from there."
If the Taylor injury lingers, that leaves Livingston, who is a terrific story, having recovered from one of the most devastating knee injuries ever seen by an NBA player.
Livingston is known for being a 6-7 point guard. But he has shown a real high basketball IQ early on.
He’s had 12 assists and just one turnover in 39 minutes and 52 seconds.
Ironically, he is the only healthy point guard under contract.
“I think Shaun’s done a great job," said Garnett. “I think he’s communicating to the team. He has a presence about himself. He’s demanding. That’s what you want your quarterback, your point guard, your coach on the floor to be like."
Concern No.2: The Nets were the worst transition defense team in the league last season, something they’ve vowed to address. The early concern this season is defending the paint.
That was the second point of emphasis written on the grease board in the locker room yet the Pistons had 30 points in the paint in the first half.
“This is a night that we kind of needed," said Kidd. “We got to work on protecting the paint. And we didn’t do that."
Washington outscored the Nets 46-40 in the paint. The Pistons finished with 50 points in the paint.
“Detroit’s not known for perimeter shooting, they’re known for what they did tonight, play to their strengths, get the ball in the paint, alley-oops, easy buckets," said Garnett. “They got a lot of them tonight. Great game for us to learn from."