Brooklyn Nets Media Day: Five Takeaways
Catching up with the Nets as they get ready to tip off training camp on Tuesday
With training camp tipping off on Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets held media day at HSS Training Center on Monday. Eight returning players and seven new additions -- including rookies Dzanan Musa and Rodions Kurucs -- plus two-way contract signees Theo Pinson and Alan Williams held sessions, along with camp invitee Jordan McLaughlin. The only player on the 19-man preseason roster not in attendance was Australian forward Mitch Creek.
Here's five quick observations from the day's interviews:
EVERYBODY LOVES ED DAVIS
The Portland Trail Blazers practically staged a mutiny via social media when they lost Ed Davis to the Nets via free agency. Nets players sound like they just might do the same in a similar situation, and the guy hasn't even played a game with them yet.
That's the kind of impression the veteran center has made on his new teammates in just two months.
"A guy like Ed Davis that I see every day in pickup now, the guy does little things," said DeMarre Carroll. "Things that people, all the fans, are not going to be like, 'hey, he's scoring all the points.' But he's going to set the great picks. Screen and get a guy like Caris (LeVert) open, (D'Angelo Russell) open. He's going to grab a big-time rebound for us in a big-time game."
Jarrett Allen, the second-year center, has been soaking up tips from the 6-10 veteran and Joe Harris and LeVert are quick converts as well.
"Ed, he's a prototypical five," said LeVert." He screens very well. He finishes everything down low. Low-maintenance. Doesn't really need the ball. Just wants players around him to be better. He's a great teammate for sure. I can't wait to play with Ed."
EVERYBODY'S SHOOTING THREES
Allen got the question. So did Kenneth Faried. And even two-way signee Alan Williams.
Hey big men, how's the 3-point shooting going?
Allen attempted just 15 3-pointers as a rookie last season, and the three new rebounding specialists don't have much of a track record from beyond the arc either. The Nets were second in the NBA in 3-pointers made and attempted last season. So if Faried, Williams and Davis have any latent ability to knock down 23-footers, the Nets are going to find out.
"I've been working on it all summer," said Williams. "There's no way that you go into this league now without having a 3-point shot. I'm not going to say I'm an elite shooter, but I definitely have improved there, and it's also something else I want to show.
"They said the bigs play like guards here when I first stepped through the door. You've got to move the basketball, make good plays and obviously shoot the three ball."
CRASHING THE BOARDS
The profiles of newly acquired Nets make it clear that one of the team's offseason priorities was rebounding better. So taking part in their first media days with the team were Davis, Faried, and Williams.
"That's why I'm here," said Faried. "I'm excited to play basketball. I'm excited to be here for Brooklyn. This is my stomping ground pretty much. I'm from New Jersey. This is where I learned how to play basketball and the first thing I learned was how to rebound the ball. So for me it's exciting to come back to a team that needs me and wants me to play and go out there and do what I love to do, and that's rebound the ball and get extra possessions or stopping team possessions from those hustle points and the little efforts, giving a damn."
SHOOTING WITH CONFIDENCE
Defense is a focus area going into the season, as coach Kenny Atkinson noted last week and players acknowledged on Monday. But there's no lack of confidence about the team's offensive capabilities.
"We've proven that we can score with the best," said Allen Crabbe. "We scored effortlessly some games."
The Nets bring back seven double-figure scorers from last season.
"We can score the ball," said Carroll. "A lot of guys that can score the ball."
MAKING CULTURE PAY OFF
Even with all the new faces, the Nets return their top eight scorers from last season. There's a continuity with a young core. After the 32-year-old Carroll, the second-oldest player among that group of eight is 27-year-old Harris. They're looking forward to building toward the next step after an eight-win improvement last season.
"In terms of the culture and everything that we're doing, we're doing all the right things," said Spencer Dinwiddie. "Spending time together on and off, putting in the work, all those things. But in terms of putting a hard, fast timeline to it, it's hard. We've got a lot of young guys and we've all got to continue to improve, both individually and collectively."
Carroll spent the bulk of the summer in Brooklyn and at HSS Training Center, and he had plenty of company.
"The biggest thing we do is we stay in the gym," said Carroll. "When you come to Brooklyn, when you come to this team, you've got to go in the gym. You've got to stay in the gym. You've got to trust your work. I'm a true believer in working hard. Like four other guys were here the whole summer. I think that's the biggest key. We put in the work. Now we've got to go out there and perform."