King Believes Nets Set for New Season
Brooklyn's got talent.
Nets General Manager Billy King is confident of that. Relishing the offseason challenge of rebuilding his roster after two years of uncertainty, King believes he and his staff have constructed a playoff team on paper. Now, it's time for them to jell.
"It was a long road to get to where we are as an organization," said King, in a Tuesday press conference. "(After) a lot of plans, lot of talks, lot of discussions, I think we're here. Having all the guys in town, it's exciting to see them workout, to see them play with each other, to see them get excited about teammate they may not have known anything about."
King credited point guard Deron Williams with organizing the early workouts, which began more than two weeks ago. Now surrounded by offensive talents like All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson, center Brook Lopez -- who's fully recovered from the broken foot that limited him last season -- and sharp-shooting backups MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic, Williams can return to a more instinctual distribution role.
Offensively, the team wields impressive firepower and depth, but King knows players must make adjustments if they are to succeed as a group. More than a few are used to playing integral scoring roles or being leaned on to carry their team in a way that shouldn't be necessary with this roster.
"It was trying to get guys that put the team first, guys that understood 'team,'" King said. "I think we've really got a group of guys that are focused on playing basketball and trying to win. And we've got a lot of guys that I think have all been knocked at a certain point in their career for some thing or another. I think if, collectively, they can gain strength in each other, then we can have a good unit."
Though points are necessary to win, NBA games are often lost on the other end of the floor, and King feels strongly about the individual defense (particularly praising Williams and Wallace, along with forwards Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans) while pointing to the system success of teams like Boston and Miami as a ways to lift the group. The GM notes that in both instances, individual players with less-than-stellar defensive reputations -- but committed attitudes -- were able to sustain top-tier NBA team defense.
The Nets will be attempting that in Brooklyn, after an arduous multi-year journey that officially concludes with the regular-season opener November 1 against the Knicks. King has learned borough history, and knows the Dodgers' 1957 exit for Los Angeles has left a hole the Nets can only begin to fill for Brooklynites.
"We have a responsibility to them provide them with a team that they can be proud of, that they can wear our logo and be proud," King said. "And I look forward to meeting any of the widows or players that played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, because I think it's got to be a special moment for them."