EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sitting on a chair along a wall, Deron Williams looked to his right and shouted at his new backcourt mate seated some 50 feet away.
"Hey Joe! Hey Joe!" the Nets point guard said, trying to get Joe Johnson's attention. "Joe, this ain't working, man. This ain't working out."
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Williams, showing his lighter side, knows only time will tell just how good the Nets' All-Star backcourt will be. But as they've begun the process over these last few weeks -- starting with their informal team workouts last month -- to mesh into a cohesive duo, Williams and Johnson are intrigued by the prospects that lie ahead.
"It's been fun playing with him," Williams said after practice at the PNY Center. "We've got a good group. I think we have a chance to be really good with him and Gerald [Wallace] on the wings . . . I'm definitely enjoying playing with Joe. He has a great feel for the game. It should be fun to operate with him."
For one reason in particular, too.
"He was joking with me yesterday, saying that he never got any spot-up looks last year," Johnson said. "He never had nobody else to penetrate and make a play for him. So I promised him I'd give him a couple of them a game."
The versatility of Williams and Johnson gives coach Avery Johnson options, and he's allowing the two veterans to manage their on-court flexibility themselves. They're communicating all these things on the fly through the first days of camp and the learning curve is surely going to extend into the season.
It's going to depend on how long it takes for Johnson to grow accustomed to Williams' tendencies and coach Johnson's philosophies.
"Me getting familiar with the sets is going to make it a lot easier," Joe Johnson said. "I told him whenever you want to play the two or come off picks, just let me know. We will interchange it and switch it up, because he's a big point guard, I'm a big two guard.
"He's going to have an advantage a lot of times. He's a great post player. I don't mind playing off him, just as well as he doesn't mind playing off me. So I think it's going to be fun."
Williams takes umbrage with chatter that each must continuously have the ball to be effective.
"Everybody talks about we both need the ball in our hands," he said. "No. 1, in Utah, I didn't always have the ball in my hand. The system we ran, I'd give it up, I'd get it back at the end of the shot clock. I like coming off screens. Now, he can handle the ball and I can come off screens freely and vice versa.
"I think we'll be a great fit together. He had to dominate the ball in Atlanta because he didn't have any scorers. Same thing last year with me. I had to dominate the ball because it was the only real chance we had."
Notes & quotes: PF/C Andray Blatche (back spasms) and G Tyshawn Taylor (right quad strain) sat out part of practice, but Avery Johnson doesn't think either injury is serious. Blatche did participate in Wednesday night's practice.