From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH
BROOKLYN NETS: Without Deron Williams On The Floor, Jason Kidd's Crew Is Still A Split Squad.
The Nets have played five pre-season games so far, with two remaining before they open the 2013-2014 regular season on October 30th in Cleveland. To date, there is still no determination on Deron Williams' return from a sprained right ankle suffered during an off-season workout in Utah. Deron has been practicing on a very limited basis, but has not participated in any pre-season games, while doctors are yet to even clear him for contact.
This time last season, that would have registered as a complete catastrophe on the Richter scale. This season, with Paul Pierce on board, Deron's situation only registers somewhere closer to disaster. But of all the dumb luck, just when Williams was about to be unshackled from the world of isolation, he can't run. So for now, the Nets remain a tale of two teams. At one end, are Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez waiting for their familiar floor leader's return. At the other, are Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. Until Deron Williams returns, and returns in full health, this is the way this team will remain in my view. Williams was ideally going to be the homogenizing force bringing everything together. The longer he remains out, the longer this integration of forces gets delayed.
Last year, we heard how Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace needed time to familiarize themselves with Williams and Lopez, and vice versa. So what makes this situation any different? My quick response would be the Nets have a greater measure of sustainability this time around, albeit in yet joined segments.
After a day-off yesterday, the Nets are back at practice today. On Wednesday, they'll take on the Celtics in Boston, but Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will not play for sake of rest. The Nets will then conclude their pre-season in Miami on Friday.