EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Proven again: Coaches are the grown-ups and players are all just bigger children. With the Brooklyn Nets' Nov. 1 season opener still more than a week away, their marquee player, Deron Williams, acknowledged that he just wants to get on with the real games -- that he became sick of preseason training camp "about three weeks ago."
That, of course, was when camp opened. Coach Avery Johnson, on the other hand, would dearly love more time in the practice gym to shape a team that has undergone a dramatic makeover in the offseason.
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"[That's] absolutely right," Johnson said about the need for practicing more. "Actually, [Philadelphia 76ers coach] Doug Collins and I were talking about that when we met at halfcourt before [Friday night's preseason game], and I was saying, 'Man, I wish, legally, I could have two practices a day for the next three weeks and then throw in a game or two when necessary.' "
Wednesday night's game against the Knicks at Nassau Coliseum will be the Nets' last of the preseason, "and then we've got more training camp," Williams said, another full week of uninterrupted workouts. That makes Johnson happier than his increasingly impatient players.
Convincing his team to lend full concentration to the rest of camp "is part of the process," Johnson said. "Part of it is being a salesman. A coach wears so many different hats, and when I'm telling them, 'Hey, guys, this is a teaching point in practice; pay attention.' "
The Nets' last two blowout losses were evidence enough that "we need to have the type of practices we've had the last two days," Johnson said. "We've had, basically, two football practices, with pads on, these last two. A lot of contact.
"Like I told our guys, I love our team and we've got some good guys. But we need a higher level of intensity in practice, and hopefully it'll carry over more into games. They're starting to understand. It's not like we've been playing together for three years. So we'll continue to do this chemistry and synergy and getting everybody on the same page offensively and defensively."
Notes & quotes: Swingman Keith Bogans (knee) and guard C.J. Watson (tailbone) did not practice Monday. Veteran guard/forward Jerry Stackhouse (hamstring) participated in several drills, but Johnson said "don't expect him to play" against the Knicks. Johnson said he hopes to have Watson return to practice Tuesday, "and if not, he'll probably be a game-time decision" against the Knicks.