Nets have only 11 games left to build some chemistry
The objective has not changed.
The process, however, is on an expedited timeline.
An extremely expedited timeline.
“We have 11 games left to do what it takes to put ourselves in position to get to the Finals,” Andre Drummond said after the Nets’ early afternoon practice Sunday at the HSS Training Center.
Ahead of Monday night’s home game with the Jazz, the Nets (37-34) are in the unenviable position of attempting to secure a spot in the play-in round while attempting to assimilate what is essentially a new roster on the fly.
Not exactly how it was planned out. But it is where the Nets find themselves.
“We’ve gotta treat this [expletive] like pickup,” Drummond said before laughing. “We’ve gotta go out there, just take the best five and try to make it work, try to build chemistry while we’re out there. I think we have enough guys — I think the best thing about our team is we have guys that’s experienced, guys who’ve been in the league five to seven-plus years, so i think with that, we’ll be able to figure it out.”
So far, the results have been a mixed bag. Since the Feb. 10 trade deadline when the Nets acquired Drummond, Seth Curry, and Ben Simmons from Philadelphia for James Harden and Paul Millsap, they have an 8-9 record.
Which is in part why Steve Nash seethed after Friday night’s 128-123 win over Portland. The second-year coach was less than enamored with how his team began that game, as the Nets allowed the Trail Blazers to score 75 points in the first half.
“I do get what he's saying,” Nash said after being informed of Drummond’s thought process. “We don't have time to give away days, [give away] shootarounds. I was disappointed we gave away the first half as much because it put us in a difficult position to win the game as it was that we wasted an opportunity to get better. Yeah, we've talked to the group a lot about 11 games. We're playing against teams with four, five, six years of corporate knowledge, where a lot of that end-of-game execution stuff is rote for them. They've been through it before. We don't have that. So I think that's what Andre's getting at. We've got to really work hard and be conscious of what are the little details of what's going to be important for us to win games.”
Because the goal has not changed from training camp. The Nets are all-in to win a championship. But whereas other teams are fine-tuning for the playoffs, the Nets are learning how to play together.
“I think the more time we have together,” Drummond said, “the better we’ll be.”