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March 2, 2011

NETS Enter O2: D-Will Q&A, Practice Recap

After a Blackberry/Automated Wake-Up Call double-team pressed me into wakefulness (Ill admit to splitting the defenders with a snooze maneuver), the kid hopped downstairs for a quick breakfast and a 10-minute Tower of London team photo pit stop before heading over to the O2 arena for the Nets first practice on their home floor.

Deron Williams didnt participate due to injury and illness (though Avery Johnson says Deron will be ready for Friday), but I caught up with the Nets new PG for a quick Q&A:

Ben Couch: Whats been up since you got here? Saw you did that video with

Deron Williams: Its all done, man. Im not feeling too well right now, so I havent done much.

Couch: Sorry to hear it. Know the travel cant help. How about your hands? Both are sore now, right?

Williams: Right, wrist injury. I wish people would stop talking about it because its going to be here for the rest of the season. Youre going to ask me about it tomorrow its going to be the same. My left hand has got a hand bruise, bone bruise. (Holds up brace/ice wrap)

Couch: So same deal? Youre just going to deal with it until you can rest?

Williams: Until it gets better.

Couch: Got it. What about adjusting to new teammates? How do you feel youre fitting in?

Williams: Its going good, man. Theyve been great. The little time Im been there, Ive enjoyed being around them. Still havent got a chance to practice with them, but thatll come one day.

Couch: How do you think youll benefit most when you do return to practice?

Williams: Just having the chance to go through some more stuff, more plays. More court time, it helps.

Couch: All right, one last question: did Avery really toss half the playbook? I couldn't tell if he was serious ...

Williams: Nah, I dont think hes thrown it out. He put in four plays before the game, thats about it.

As for the practice, Avery opened with a video review session, being sure to follow up any criticisms with examples of things the Nets did well. After that, and some warm-ups, Johnson ran the team through a series of drills, several plays and then a brief scrimmage. Highlights included 10-day addition Sundiata Gaines bouncing off the floor for a vicious dunk during a drill, just because he could.

Upon the sessions conclusion, the players did their first round of foreign media, with (Slovenian) Sasha Vujacic, (French) Johan Petro and (Dutch) Dan Gadzuric drawing crowds you couldve guessed would form. Kris Humphries and Williams also found themselves queuing up questions. (Sidenote: That was a good one, yeah? Queue. Funny-looking word to these American eyes.) Coach held court for a while, fielding questions about the London Games, joking that the Nets could be called Globetrotters, for lack of a better term.

Its been great for us, coming over, seeing our fans in China and in Russia (during the preseason NBA China Games) and now in Europe, especially here in Great Britain, Johnson said. Its wonderful. This is a community thats going to have more and more NBA action in the future, because this is a metropolitan city, great sports city in all different sports and Im glad that the NBA and our product is here and giving the fans a taste of what we do on the NBA level.

Johnson went on to explain that hes not sure exactly what being designated the home team against the Raptors will entail, but hopes it means a good deal of support from the fans attending the game. It would be nice, mainly because he expects to return.

Im glad our players are having the chance to experience London, whether it would be in the preseason or regular season, Johnson said. Were a global team, we have global ownership b/c of our owner Mikhail Prokhorov and our Russian influence with our ownership. I could see us playing regular-season games somewhere in Europe for the next 5-10 years.

NETS NOTES Jordan Farmar (sprained ankle) also didnt participate in practice, but joined in the warmup, as well as post-practice shooting. He seemed in good spirits, though, and will be re-evaluated as the week goes on...Nets Senior Director of Public Relations Aaron Harris proved the biggest cricket fan in the front office, caught up trying to figure out exactly what the hockeysticks was happening for the better part of an hour, along with this guy, assistant trainer Matt Reicher, team security Leroy Marshall, assistant coach John Loyer and "Voice of the Nets" Chris Carrino. Event Coordinator LaTosha Matthews was having no part of it.

--Posted by Ben Couch at 10:21/5:21 p.m.

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