Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams

AP

The best Brooklyn Nets player is the 36th-best player in the NBA, according to Sports Illustrated.
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AP

AP

Kevin Garnett hasn't come off the bench in an NBA game since January 27th, 1996. He's started in 1,482 consecutive games, including the playoffs, since that day.

On a related note, new Nets coach Lionel Hollins said Monday afternoon that Garnett's "earned the right" to be his starting power forward. He'll flank Brook Lopez in a big lineup reminiscent of Hollins's days in Memphis, when he started talented Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, two talented big men. This comes after Garnett played much of last season at the center position, following Lopez's season-ending foot injury.

Garnett doesn’t want to be known as a center. He’s open and vocal about his disdain for the center position. “Should’ve put that s--- (not playing center) in my contract,” he joked back in January. He’s famously referred to as “six-foot-thirteen,” since being seven feet tall is often associated with a lumbering lack of skill. Garnett doesn’t want people to think he’s in the NBA just because he’s tall, but because he’s tall and he’s put in an unconscionable amount of work.

Garnett considers himself a power forward, a position that by definition requires more skill and versatility than the centers he grew up watching.

That’s precisely the problem: Garnett has a traditional vision of what a center is in today’s NBA. By being his power forward self, he’s better as a center.
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Deron Williams: I’m healthy

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Watching Deron Williams fire dodgeballs should've been enough.

At his Celebrity Dodge Barrage last year, Williams showed up in a walking boot, after spraining his right ankle and suffering a bone bruise during offseason workouts in Utah.

Williams also underwent surgery on both of his ankles in May, shortly after the team's playoff run ended. He was fitted for walking boots, getting around on a scooter.

But after a couple of months, Williams went from this...

To this.

This year, Williams showed up early to his tournament, wearing low-top "pre-dodgeball" Nikes as he walked in to the event, hosted at Pier 36's Basketball City.

"They feel good," Williams said about his ankles. "I've been working out hard every day, getting ready to go."

RELATED: Deron Williams Injury History

Williams had the surgery on May 27th, removing bone spurs from the front and back of his left ankle and removing a loose bone fragment from his right ankle joint. The injuries coincided with down year for Williams, averaging career-lows since he became a full-time starter in points per game (14.3), assists per game (6.1), player efficiency rating (17.6), and field goal attempts per game within three feet (2.4).

"Any time you can't walk, can't run, can't jump, it's hard to play basketball," Williams said with a chuckle, "Especially in this league. Only thing I wish is that I would've gotten surgery earlier, but what can you do? I got it now. I'm ready to go now, and I'm excited about the season."

Most of the team's gotten together at the training facility for pre-camp games, and more guys filter in each day. Sergey Karasev, Jarrett Jack, and Mason Plumlee (who just won the FIBA World Cup with Team USA in Spain) all said this was their first day with the team, and Mirza Teletovic joined them, leaving just Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Johnson as the final Nets to join. Coach Lionel Hollins is around too, handing out morsels of information and strategy, but he's mostly in the background.

Williams said he's only played in one-on-one games against coaches up until this point -- "dummy defenses," he calls it -- but Tuesday he's supposed to begin playing bigger games against teammates. "Just take it day by day," Williams said. "Hopefully September 27th goes, I'm good to go."

As for dodgeball, Williams looked just fine. Not only did he move around with no readily visible issues, he -- and many of his Nets teammates -- played with the intensity you'd expect players to reserve for NBA games. They strategized. They didn't take it easy on opponents, particularly one team adorning faux blond mohawks that plays semi-professionally.

There was one thing that separated Nets young and old. When Williams thought a player on the other side was cheating, he'd glare wide-eyed at the referee and shout his case. "WE CAUGHT IT! HE'S OUT!" Williams would often win these mind games, probably because it was his event. But on one occasion, Nets draftee Markel Brown was on the rough end of a bad call. He failed pleading his case to a dodgeball referee. The cost of being a rookie.

 

Jason Kidd, Deron Williams in March 2014. (AP)

Jason Kidd, Deron Williams in March 2014. (AP)

Mum's the word on Kidd.

Once upon a time, Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams and Jason Kidd were close friends, going on vacations and golfing together even before the two had a player-coach relationship. The two even have the same agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management.

The friendship was notable enough that the two felt the need to defend Kidd's ability to coach a friend like Williams during last season's training camp.

But Williams and Kidd haven't spoken since Kidd left the Nets after Kidd's failed power grab in June, Williams said at his Celebrity Dodge Barrage.

"I don't even know enough about the situation," Williams said. "I've heard a lot of different things, as you guys probably have. I don't know what exactly happened, but we're excited about Lionel Hollins being our next coach."

According to reports in late June, Kidd attempted to usurp general manager Billy King's position, asking for more power in the Nets organization. When he was declined, the Nets gave him permission to speak with the Milwaukee Bucks, who employed Larry Drew as their head coach at the time. The teams worked out a deal shortly afterwards, with the Nets releasing Kidd from his contract in exchange for two second-round picks from the Bucks.

Williams isn't alone: Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko said he also hasn't had any contact with Kidd since the firing. "I am a little surprised (that he left), because Jason has been an integral part of the Nets organization for many years as a player," Kirilenko added. "It was looking like he was going to be a coach for a long time. But it didn't happen."

 

Britain Basketball Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Garnett (AP)

Starting at power forward for Lionel Hollins's Brooklyn Nets is... the future Hall of Fame power forward.

Guess we saw that coming. Speaking with reporters at Deron Williams's Celebrity Dodge Barrage, Hollins said that Garnett is penciled in as his team's starting power forward, to flank All-Star center Brook Lopez in the frontcourt. "He's earned the right to have that opportunity to be the starter from day one," Hollins said about Garnett. "If somebody else would knock him out, it's got to be like a heavyweight fight."

Garnett turned his season around in the second half of the 2013-14 season when he moved to center, allowing him to stay close to the basket on defense. The Nets allowed just 95.6 points per 100 possessions with Garnett on the floor in 2014, by far the best of any player on the team and a number that would've been the best of all NBA teams over a full season. But Hollins stressed that he'd start as a power forward, which mimics his big-oriented Memphis Grizzlies teams that started Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Garnett has just one year left on his contract, and there were rumors that he'd possibly retire this offseason. But teammates and Hollins stressed that Garnett has worked out in the Nets facility for the last two weeks, and that he's ready to play. "If he's healthy and producing, he's going to play," Hollins added. How many minutes, I don't know. But he's not going to play 15 or 16 minutes, I can guarantee you that. If he's playing and he's starting, he's going to be out there."

Hollins added that he had no influence over Garnett's decision to come back. "You're either here or you're not here. You're either pregnant or you're not pregnant."

 

Joe Johnson (AP)

Joe Johnson (AP)

It's that time of year again, when athletes and sportswriters alike amble towards training camp and the taste of real NBA basketball slowly turns into a reality. To take us there, we've got NBA rankings, and this week Sports Illustrated has begun release of their top 100 players in the NBA today.
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Nets point guard Jorge Gutierrez is currently the only active player in the NBA of Mexican descent. That's a huge accomplishment, but basketball is not his only forte. He does have some nice hair too.

Jorge didn’t always rock that slick, gelled-back hairstyle, so please join me in this transient journey through the “Evolution of Jorge’s Hair”.

High School

Picture 1 of 5

HIGH SCHOOL: Jorge spent his teenage years in the depths of Nevada, attending Findlay Prep High School. You can definitely believe that he was the real chick magnet with this “long hair, don’t care look”.

With help from Raya Lim

 

Mason Plumlee

Mission Accomplished.
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Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

Yikes. This isn't a fun story.... MORE →

 

Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King defended Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry in a statement to Zach Lowe of ESPN's Grantland, following a report and a leaked audio tape of Ferry using racially charged language to describe Sudanese-born NBA player Luol Deng:
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AP

Jason Kidd, landlord. (AP)

Want to live in the same dwellings once inhabited by former Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd? Now you can. Kidd's 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom Riverside Avenue apartment is up for rent for a paltry $22,000 per month, now that Kidd's moved to Wisconsin to coach the Milwaukee Bucks.

From the New York Post:

His Manhattan apartment at the Aldyn, at 60 Riverside Blvd., is on the market for $22,000 a month. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home includes a chef’s kitchen, Hudson River views and building amenities that athletes love: 40,000 square feet of “play” space, a pool and a gym with steam and sauna rooms, a pilates room, a kinesis room (yeah, we don’t know what that is either), dance studio, golf simulator, table tennis, billiards, a double-lane bowling alley, squash court — and a full regulation basketball court, natch, along with a Kidville-designed playroom, and a large courtyard with sitting areas with hammocks.

If you want to know what a $22,000 apartment looks like, here's one being rented out for that exact amount in Kidd's former building. We can't confirm 100% that it's his former place, but it fits all of the qualifications, and it's the only one rented out for that price.

For those of you just moving to New York City and looking for a nice starter apartment, you'll need to make nearly $900,000 per year to afford the apartment without needing a guarantor. Hopefully for that amount he's at least installed spill-proof floors.