As analysts around the league dismisses their chances, the Nets have kept their goals in-house — just not their opinions on the analysis.
As preseason predictions roll in, more often than not the Nets end up on the wrong side of .500. ESPN’s SCHOENE projects them at 36-46. Ditto for 538. ESPN Forecast 40-42.
(For the record, we see them at 45-37, fifth in the Eastern Conference. Certainly optimistic, but not impossible).
Kevin Garnett dismissed the punditry and speculative analysis, preferring to focus on internal goals.
“Writers are going to be writers,” Garnett said to a group of writers. “You guys have to fill your columns and make dollar and do whatever you have to do to make a story sound whatever it needs to sound like. We as players and organization-wise have to internally be bonding, form chemistry, and have something of a product to where we can put out. We come in here, we work every day at this. This is not something that we just take very lightly. This is our job, this is our craft, we want to perfect it as best we can.”
“Whether someone puts you in a poll or in an article as winning or not, I can’t really say what I want to say, but you have to take that like a grain of salt and continue to move on. We internally here have our own goals as a team, and that’s priority. We can’t get into the naysayers or the people that are supposed to be professionals or professional analysts, people who have never touched a basketball, it is what it is, man. And the focus is to be internally here and know what all the team goals here.”
Coach Lionel Hollins had a similarly dismissive attitude. “I don’t really care either way,” Hollins said with a smile. “I really don’t. As I’ve said many times, high expectations doesn’t mean you’re going to meet them or exceed them, low expectations doesn’t mean you’re not going to be above them. It’s all about playing.”
The pressure is still there. After four head coaches (one interim) in four years, the Nets hope Hollins can stick with this roster, and the low expectations could give him a buffer zone to figure those out. But Hollins doesn’t take any day for granted. “I want to succeed,” Hollins said. “They fire coaches after one year. They fire coaches in the middle of years. So it’s not like you go out there and you just sit around like ‘I got time.’ You never got time.”
Nonetheless, Garnett says he feels a certain motivation to prove doubters wrong, after a down season in 2013-2014.
“I have a little bit of an edge to me this year,” Garnett said. “I’ll say that. I didn’t like how I ended last year, or how I even started last year. I’m a very motivated person, I am very real with myself, I watch a lot of film of myself and I look to be a little different this year.”