After Terrence Williams’s flagrant foul on LeBron James Saturday night, it was inevitable that the topic of conversation in Nets-land was going to center on their “toughness.” The team was heavily criticized by players and fans alike last season for being “soft” so the team answered questions about whether that attitude will change this season:
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hard foul. It can be [taking] a charge, a blocked shot. We just can’t let a guy come in and lay the ball up without repercussions,” Devin Harris said. “Sometimes we let them get to the lane a little bit too easy. I’m not saying we need to hurt guys, but we do need to protect our basket more and send these guys to the free-throw line more.”
I feel like the Nets have this conversation with themselves every season. Not to pooh-pooh it, but until I see them actually enforce a mantra of toughness, I can’t take it seriously. If Avery Johnson can get the team playing smarter on defense, no one is going to have to worry about committing a hard foul in the paint.