DURHAM, N.C. -- Kevin Garnett sat on a chair with a white towel draped over his head, obviously a bit gassed after the Nets' first practice on their second day of training camp.
Let's just say Garnett & Co. are getting a good workout in so far.
"Fun, but tough," the 37-year-old power forward said after practice at Duke University Wednesday. "Obviously we’re new, and we’re trying to get our feet under us, along with the system that Jason [Kidd] has given us. Lawrence [Frank] has a bunch of stuff that is in our defensive schemes. And it’s worked, man. We’re coming in here and he’s kicking our ass.
"It’s training camp. We’re at Duke for a reason."
The Nets also traded for Garnett for a reason: to add some toughness physically and mentally. Many considered the Nets to be a soft team a season ago, particularly with the way they flopped in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series with the Bulls.
But the addition of Garnett should change that somewhat. He doesn't take any mess and is certainly an intimidating presence.
"I just play hard, man," Garnett said. "I just play hard. I don’t take any - - - - like anybody. … I play with my heart on my sleeve. I care about the game and I never disrespect the game or myself or my family. If you want to call that tough, I guess that’s tough."
Still, that toughness could help send the Nets over the top, giving Garnett that championship feeling he so desires.
"That’s the only reason I came back, man," he said. "I like the bones of this team and what I thought I could bring to this team could help. I didn’t watch all of the Chicago series, but I thought with the additions to what I did see, I felt the additions to what we did this year could help that. But it would mean the world. That’s the only reason I came back, was to try to win another ring."
Two days in, he's liking what he's seeing from his new teammates.
"It’s a good group," Garnett said. "A lot of good guys, a lot of guys that’s receptive to conversation and are open. We’re very, very … it’s a good mix of medium players and veteran players, along with a good group of young guys that we have. So far, so good."
Kidd, who's keeping the dialogue open regarding Garnett's availability in back-to-back games, said the veteran hasn't changed one bit in his lengthy NBA career. To Kidd, he's basically the same old Kevin Garnett.
"I’ve known K for a long time," Kidd said. "I’ve played with him and he’s still the same person that he was when he came into the league. He just comes with a lot of energy and he’s a talker offensively and defensively. That helps. It makes the game easy."