The Nets season kicks off tonight against the Boston Celtics. You excited? I am, and here’s why, from A-to-Z:
…Alan Anderson, annoying an opponent into a technical for the first time.
…Bojan Bogdanovic, veering around the learning curve.
…Coaching — as in, experience on the bench in Lionel Hollins, who’s got a four-year contract and might actually coach through it.
…Deron Williams, after two ankle surgeries and a spry preseason, he’ll answer the question once and for all if he’s got something left in the tank.
…Goodbye, Mascot: The BrooklyKnight is dead, and never coming back.
…Hope, that with a fully healthy roster (knock on wood, Brook Lopez), the team could sneak the division title right out from under the rest of the Atlantic.
…#IanEagleOutOfContext, and the best top-to-bottom announce crew in the league.
"That's a bag of grapes!" – #IanEagleOutOfContext
— Erica Dagley Galea (@ericadagley) May 1, 2014
…Joe Jesus AKA Joe Cool AKA Armadillo Cowboy AKA Rather Be Overpaid And Underrated pulling another game-winning 20-footer out of his arsenal with the youthful exuberance of wheatgrass.
…Kirilenko, Andrei: motivated, trying to prove that his back injury last year was an aberration and not the norm.
…Lopez, Brook: the man in the middle, returning from multiple foot injuries, showing that a post-dominant NBA big man with a soft touch isn’t an extinct species just yet.
…Motion, or “Flex,” the offensive system instilled by Hollins, with ball movement and player movement becoming the norm in Brooklyn.
…November 19th, when Nets coaching pariah Jason Kidd returns to Barclays Center with his Milwaukee Bucks.
…On-the-fly adjustments. What happens when three Nets starters inevitably get injured and Lionel Hollins has to piece together a lineup from mystery bench players like he’s on an episode of Chopped: Coaching Edition?
…Pregnancy, which appears to be Lionel Hollins’s early go-to metaphor for injuries. You’re either playing or you’re not playing; you’re either pregnant or you’re not pregnant. That nugget aside, we’ve got a full year ahead of Hollins’s playful wordplay.
…Quicken Loans Arena, where the Nets will play two games against LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers, after sweeping his Miami Heat in the 2013-14 regular season and then getting throttled by those Heat in five playoff games.
…Raptors, Toronto: the team with something to prove following last season’s first-round loss to the Nets plays Brooklyn in four regular season games — and if we’re lucky, seven more in the playoffs.
…Steals, screens, swats, shots, and sacrifices for success.
…Trade deadline time, when the Nets are always involved in some sort of front-office camaraderie around the league.
…Ups and upside: watch as American Hero Mason Plumlee, preparing for his sophomore year, dunks through opponents one 36″ leap at a time. Don’t sleep on rookie Markel Brown, either
…Voracious fans clubs, like The Brooklyn Brigade, growing and growing. Not to mention the celebrity courtside visits.
…Walsh, Tim, the longtime Nets trainer who hopefully won’t have his work cut out for him so much this season.
…X-Factor Jarrett Jack, sneakily becoming the 6’3″ Andray Blatche.
…Years, 20 of them in the league and 39 in April for Kevin Garnett, who might make his final lap around the league this season.
…And …Zydrunas Ilgauskas, whose story of success after returning from a potentially devastating foot injury gives hope to Brook Lopez, who’s trying to come back from the same ailment. And isn’t hope what it’s all about?