Brooklyn Nets Media Day Notebook
The Nets checked in at Barclays Center before heading to San Diego for training camp
The Brooklyn Nets ran through most of the roster on Media Day at Barclays Center on Monday before the team took off for San Diego and a California training camp trip that will conclude with a preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday.
The new faces were plentiful after an active summer from general manager Sean Marks and the front office. Eight players are returning who played for Brooklyn last summer, so the Nets will have seven new arrivals on the opening night roster, along with turning over both two-way spots.
“I’m looking forward to every part of this journey,” said Kyrie Irving. “Obviously, we have a group of guys I got a chance to get close with. We made some changes in the middle of the season. It’s always tough, but I feel like we rounded out pretty well towards the end of the season, did the best we could. I feel like coming into this year we have more firepower on the interior and then being able to rely on our offensive and defensive schemes and just our versatility out there. I’m just looking forward to playing with everybody that’s going to be in that locker room and just growing throughout the journey.”
In addition to the rookie first-round draft picks Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe, Marks filled in the edges of the roster with proven veterans such as Patty Mills and Paul Millsap, plus the re-signing of the unretired LaMarcus Aldridge, along with James Johnson, DeAndre’ Bembry and Jevon Carter.
“I think our entire roster improved in the sense of we have more experience,” said James Harden. “We have a few more guys that's been in big games and had long playoff runs. And then honestly, we have a full year together where in our training camp last year, and I was thrown in the fire in the middle of the season and we were just trying to figure it out and do our best. Now we got a full training camp and a full year to get better, I think, that’s the most exciting part about it.”
James Harden said things will be “even scarier” now that the Nets can start a season fresh with himself, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, along with the summer reinforcements.
“For me it’s just trying to win MVP every year in the sense of trying to be the best player on the court every single night,” said Harden. “Kevin feels the same way. Kyrie feels the same way. I think everybody’s on the same page in the sense of we want to win a championship. That’s why LaMarcus is here. That’s why Paul is here. That’s why our entire roster is built. Sean in the front office did an unbelievable job of building the roster to where we want to compete at the highest level. If you have any thirsty or stingy mindset it’ll stick out like a sore thumb because everybody is on the same page. It’s going to be a great year, great journey. I’m looking forward to it and I hope you guys are as well.”
MILLS & ALDRIDGE
For eight of his 12 NBA seasons, first in Portland and then the last six in San Antonio, Patty Mills has shared a locker room with LaMarcus Aldridge. So while it’s a big change for Mills to join the Nets after 10 seasons with the Spurs, he found himself right back with Aldridge when the two signed with the Nets in August.
“I can’t get rid of the guy,” said Mills. “Been trying to shake him for 12 years of my NBA career. I didn’t actually (speak to him about signing with the Nets), as the summer was sort of full with the Olympic campaign, I didn’t, but to have a familiar face for me in the locker room is definitely helpful. I guess for both of us to watch both of us grow and develop over time on different teams all on this quest to win an NBA championship, I think it’s good for both of us. Walking in today and seeing him there, first of all knowing what he’s gone through over the recent time, just to see him sitting in the locker room was very pleasing.”
You can’t blame Blake Griffin. After all, why would he believe David Letterman was bouncing around the Barclays Center hallways on media days?
“I almost made a joke,” said Griffin. “I was like, ‘Well, he looks like David Letterman.’ I saw somebody turn the corner and I was like, oh, I didn’t know David Letterman came to our media day. Wow. Missed that one.”
Letterman had exited the media room after tossing a few curious questions at Kevin Durant regarding his KD nickname, his effort for the upcoming season, and whether the name of the New Orleans Pelicans made him giggle, which Durant confirmed, with a chuckle.
“They’ll let anybody in here,” said Durant.
GRIFFIN’S GOLF GAME
Blake Griffin was among several Nets on hand last week at assistant coach Adam Harrington’s JEHH Memorial Fund Summer Soiree in honor of his late sister, Jill. Griffin hit the links in the morning, getting in a round of a new golf game that he said still needs some work.
“It’s not great,” said Griffin. “I don’t know who lied to you but I appreciate them doing that. I just picked it up this summer. I started playing when I got back. I think the first time I played was mid-July and it was awful. Lost a lot of balls. But then that competitive thing took over, so I would go work out in the morning, basketball and all that, and then I would just go to the golf course for three or four hours. Not a day, but three, four days a week maybe. I hope I’ve gotten better since that first outing.”
James Harden said he was at 100 percent after a hamstring strain hobbled him during the second-round playoff series against Milwaukee. While Harden returned in Game 5 of the seven-game series after leaving a minute into Game 1, a Game 4 ankle sprain ultimately ended Kyrie Irving’s season.
“I felt like I was just hitting my stride with my teammates, and to have something sudden like that happen, you never can predict it,” said Irving. “But when it does, you’ve got to be able to pick yourself up and continue to persevere. So I did a lot of work this summer and had a chance to meet with a few specialists, had to do what needed to be done to get here and make sure I was healthy. Now coming into the season, I’m just ready to take it one day at a time. I look forward to training camp and being out there with the guys.”
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