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AP

AP

RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brook Lopez didn't have much to say, and he knew it. "Get ready for Thrillsville," he deadpanned as he sat down to speak with the media Tuesday afternoon.
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Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 56-26 (1st in East)

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Kevin Love, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving

Possibly the most explosive "Big 3" in the NBA. (AP)

Head coach: David Blatt
2013-14 record: 33-49
2013-14 ORtg: 101.3 (23rd)
2013-14 DRtg: 104.8 (T-17th)
Players in: David Blatt (coach), Joe Harris, Brendan Haywood, LeBron James, James Jones, Alex Kirk, Kevin Love, John Lucas III, Mike Miller, Erik Murphy, Malcolm Thomas, rights to Edin Bavcic, rights to Ilkan Karaman
Players out: Mike Brown (coach), Anthony Bennett, Luol Deng, Carrick Felix, Alonzo Gee, Spencer Hawes, Scotty Hopson, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev, C.J. Miles, Tyler Zeller
Projected Starting Lineup: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Anderson Varejao

You already know what happened. Let's get right to it.
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Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 47-35 (3rd in East)

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DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry

Can these Raptors bounce back from crushing defeat at the hands of Brooklyn? (AP)

Head coach: Dwane Casey
2013-14 record: 48-34
2013-14 ORtg: 105.8 (9th)
2013-14 DRtg: 102.4 (T-9th)
Players in: Bruno Caboclo, Will Cherry, Jordan Hamilton, James Johnson, Lou Williams, rights to DeAndre Daniels
Players out: Dwight Buycks, Steve Novak, Julyan Stone
Projected Starting Lineup: Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas

The Raptors are the anti-Nets.

That's probably a good thing.
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Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 45-37 (5th in East)

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Lionel Hollins

The Nets look to reboot under new coach Lionel Hollins. (AP)

Head coach: Lionel Hollins
2013-14 record: 44-38
2013-14 ORtg: 104.4 (14th)
2013-14 DRtg: 104.9 (19th)
Players in: Lionel Hollins (coach), Bojan Bogdanovic, Markel Brown, Jarrett Jack, Cory Jefferson, Sergey Karasev, Jerome Jordan (camp), Willie Reed (camp)
Players out: Jason Kidd (coach), Andray Blatche, Shaun Livingston, Paul Pierce, Marcus Thornton
Projected Starting Lineup: Deron Williams, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez

Look, we're not fooling anybody: nobody knows where this team's going to end up.
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Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 41-41 (8th in East)

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Danny Ferry

Embattled GM Danny Ferry has taken the spotlight off the solid Hawks. (AP)

ATL
Head coach: Mike Budenholzer
Projected record: 41-41 (8th)
2013-14 record: 38-44
2013-14 ORtg: 103.4 (15th)
2013-14 DRtg: 104.1 (T-14th)
Players in: Kent Bazemore, Adreian Payne, Dexter Pittman, Thabo Sefolosha, rights to Walter Taveras
Players out: Gustavo Ayon, Cartier Martin, Lou Williams, rights to Lucas Nogueira, rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis
Projected Starting Lineup: Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Al Horford

Remember when the Hawks were boring? When they were early-round playoff fodder year after year, without so much as a whisper from Atlanta? So much for that.... ">MORE →

Team Banner-Knicks

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 39-43 (9th in East)

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Derek Fisher, Steve Mills, Phil Jackson

Derek Fisher (center) and Phil Jackson (right) with Steve Mills (left), who allegedly is the GM. (AP)

Head coach: Derek Fisher
2013-14 record: 37-45
2013-14 ORtg: 105.4 (11th)
2013-14 DRtg: 106.5 (24th)
Players in: Derek Fisher (coach), Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Cleanthony Early, Travis Outlaw, Jason Smith, rights to Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Players out: Mike Woodson (coach), Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Toure' Murry, Lamar Odom, Jeremy Tyler
Projected Starting Lineup: Jose Calderon, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire

Let's start with the best-case: Amar'e Stoudemire rediscovers some offensive magic, Jose Calderon hums along and keeps erratic Knicks shooters in check, Iman Shumpert puts together a full season of locking down opposing scorers, efficiency bursts out of Carmelo Anthony for the second straight year, Andrea Bargnani is only kind of terrible, and they score enough points game in and game out to offset their average defense and surge into the playoffs behind first-year coach Derek Fisher.

Worst-case? Stoudemire can't stay healthy and can't defend the paint when he is, Calderon's efficiency drops back to earth after two incredible seasons, Bargnani is fully terrible, Anthony sulks through a season with disappointing teammates, Fisher tries to usurp Phil Jackson's job, gets "released," and heads off to coach the Milwaukee Bucks while Spike Lee takes his job on the sidelines.

The truth will probably lie somewhere in the middle.

Is that a playoff team in the East?
... Team Banner-Knicks">MORE →

 

Deron Williams

AP

Getting trimmer and shedding muscle was this summer's NBA trend, as stars like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, as well as Nets guard Joe Johnson, entered training camp noticeably slimmer than in seasons past. But Deron Williams went in the opposite direction, using his time in walking boots to put on muscle on his upper body.

"(I added a) little bit (of muscle)," Williams said. "When you're in two boots, and then you get out of one boot and you can't put the other foot down on the ground, all you can do is lift weights. So I ate weights for a little bit. That helps."

Williams added he came in at the same weight as he's been in years past, so the bulk-up could've been either purely toning his upper body, or adding upper-body strength to compensate for his inability to work out his lower body in the boot.

Listed at 6'3" and around 210 pounds, Williams already has a size advantage over most point guards, and may look to post up more. Only 27 of Williams's possessions came in the post-up last season, according to Synergy, less than 2.5 percent of the time. In his last full season in Utah, Williams went to the post-up about 4 percent of the time.

"I did that in Utah as well," Williams said about using his size to post up smaller guards. "I just got to get back to playing basketball, man. Y'all want me to predict what the hell's going to happen this whole year, I'm just going to go out and play basketball, have fun, that's all it's about, man. Just having fun."

 

AP

AP

After undergoing back spasms he called the "worst of his career" last season, it didn't take long in training camp before Andrei Kirilenko's back acted up again.

Kirilenko sat out of the team's second practice with lower back tightness, and expects to be out for 7-10 days. Kirilenko says he feels no pain in the back. "I don’t want to say it’s the right time, but it’s better now than in the middle of the season when you start missing games," Kirilenko said.

The Nets play their first preseason game on October 7th, against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Barclays Center. Kirilenko was non-committal, but likely won't risk a back injury for a preseason matchup. "I don’t really know what’s gonna happen the next 5-6 days," Kirilenko said. "This is a very important time to maintain it."

The 6'9" forward missed 37 games last season, mostly due to back spasms. He practiced the first day, playing five-on-five drills with the starting unit. He doesn't attribute his latest injury to training camp, since the workouts have been light and he's worked out all summer to improve his cardio and conditioning. One Nets source said that Kirilenko came into camp in "much better shape" than last season, when he took the entire summer off from basketball activities for the first time since becoming a professional.

Coach Lionel Hollins was unconcerned. "It’s part of the game," Hollins said. "You just have to deal with it."

 

AP

AP

Deron Williams had some choice words for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
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AP

AP

The NBA is littered with wing players who nosedive in effectiveness once they've hit the wrong side of 30. One of the exceptions to that rule is Joe Johnson, who's played at an eerily consistent level over the last decade.

Johnson's true shooting percentage has steadied between .517 and .564 since the 2004-2005 season, his career-high coming last season. His production has never been otherworldly, but it's also rarely wavered, despite approaching 40,000 minutes on his career odometer.

Johnson credits one exercise that's almost a daily staple for him, even when the team's on the road, and an exercise most NBA players eschew:... MORE →

 

"System of what?"

That was Lionel Hollins's reaction when asked about implementing last year's on-court principles. "When I was watching what they did last year, it was watching players. It wasn't trying to watch what they did, because it's really not the same team," the coach said, referring to the team's lineup switch last season necessitated by Brook Lopez's injury.

Seems like everything's just a little bit different.... MORE →

 

New Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins is big on team practices, while recent retired player and one-year Nets coach Jason Kidd de-emphasized getting together in between games. When Nets guard Joe Johnson was asked to contrast Hollins's willingness to practice with Kidd's lack thereof... well, his face just about says it all.

Kidd is now the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the youngest teams in the league.

Jump to 3:48 if the video doesn't move forward automatically.

(h/t @Wa_Sab_ for the video)