Jason Kidd conducted his first practice as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday in Durham, North Carolina. Ohm Youngmisuk from ESPN New York reported from the Nets' training camp with emphasis on their All-Star point guard Deron Williams. He described the atmosphere as "a better feeling" and "more intense" with his new head coach, and new teammates Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko.
Williams said he could barely explain this momentum that had an "excitement" coursing through the practice facility. I've got a two-word explanation for him: Championship auras. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are two champions who require mental, physical, and vocal toughness from their teammates (per usual, Garnett was said to be quarterbacking the Nets' defensive segments). Kidd and Terry won championships together on the 2011 Dallas Mavericks team that stung the Miami Heat. Even Coach K visited with the team before their session. Look around, D-Will; you have veteran, championship experience surrounding you. There's your explanation.
It's also why I've been adamant about my expectations for this Brooklyn roster. The young, talented, often-sporadic nucleus of Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez should endure a significant influence from the likes of those who have been where the Nets want to be come next June. Lopez has no choice but to at least act tough playing alongside KG, and the high-low game should be more viable because of Garnett's shooting and passing abilities. Williams and Johnson should not have to rely on hot-potato, one-on-one break downs if Pierce can merely play the steady safety net in tight situations. In retrospect, Pierce and Garnett are exactly at the stages in their careers where they need some sporadic youth to supplement what can't be done themselves. After all, one could argue it was their influence that ultimately helped cultivate the level of confidence from one Rajon Rondo in Boston.
More likely than not, the key to Brooklyn's immediate success is Jason Kidd's ability to effectively coach this team. In terms of having a capable offensive player at each position, I believe Kidd should have the best starting five in the league on that side of the ball, pound-for-pound. Fitting those styles into a working offense will be the first thing I watch for. According to Williams, (per KG) the Nets' goal will be to hold teams under 80 points per game. Kidd has the advantage of assistant coach Lawrence Frank, who both coached him in New Jersey and Pierce and Garnett in Boston under Doc Rivers. Some familiarity and plenty of experience is what gives this new-look Brooklyn team a potentially frightening chance in the Eastern conference.
So get that ankle up to snuff, D-Will, and look to reap the benefits of your superior environment.