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Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.

Watson: Nets could be team to be reckoned with

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, right, talks

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, right, talks to C.J. Watson (7) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Chicago. (Jan. 27, 2012) (Credit: AP)

C.J. Watson is in Africa at the moment, participating in the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program. 

The Nets point guard is loving every minute of it, too.

"It’s fun," Watson said in a phone conversation with Newsday on Wednesday, "to finally experience this, and just to get out there and take the kids, and teach them different drills and about education. It’s also fun just to see the country of Africa."

Of course, Watson is hoping for a little fun in his first season in Brooklyn. He likes the roster GM Billy King has assembled and believes the Nets can be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

"I think so," he said. "On paper, we are a good team. But we have to get on the court, we have to figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We still have to go out there and play together. So once we do that, and learn each other strengths and weaknesses, and actually get on the court for a while, I think we’ll be a team to be reckoned with."

The Nets have been the talk of the league for a while, particularly since free agency began July 1. The chatter is unmistakable and Watson is now a part of it, something he's reminded of nearly daily.

"The buzz is pretty big in the city," he said, "but also when players are finding out that I signed there, they are always saying congrats. ... It’s exciting. It’s always exciting to play for a good team."

Other than exchanging a few texts during the free agent recruitment process, Watson said he hasn't spoken with Deron Williams -- the guy he thinks is the best point guard in the league -- much this offseason. But he's certainly looking forward to hooping it up with the All-Star beginning in a few weeks and going back to the future, so to speak. 

The two were together on the 2003 USA men's Junior World Championship team.

"I played with him on Team USA when we were in college," Watson said. "So, it was fun to play with him then and I’m sure it’s going to be fun to play with him now. And hopefully … we can win a championship. You never know."

Tags: C.J. Watson , Deron Williams , Billy King , Brooklyn Nets , Africa , Basketball Without Borders

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