Nets' Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving talk during a timeout...

Nets' Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving talk during a timeout against the Miami Heat in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Barclays Center on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Nets have heard the whispers. They’ve read the tweets. They know that after everything that went down last season and offseason that their reputation around the league is not what they would like it to be.

"Guys are going to be coming at us, and we want to erase everything that was said about our team the last few years in terms of our weaknesses," Nets guard Kyrie Irving said after a longer than usual practice session on Saturday. “We want to turn those into our strengths — and it starts with developing good habits. And going out in the game and not just talking about it but actually doing it.”

Among the knocks on the Nets was their lack of chemistry, predictable offense, no-show defense and a general perception, as mentioned earlier this season by Markieff Morris and Kevin Durant, that they were soft.

Yes, the Nets are in need of an image makeover and Irving said that this is something that the team has discussed.

“We're human, and a lot of us have not necessarily played all the games that we would have wanted to,” Irving said. “So, it's easy, again, to say we have a chip on our shoulder, but it's a little bit deeper than that. We just want to enjoy playing a game that we love, but played at a high level where we'll make not only our families proud, but we're doing everything we can to make each other good.”

Irving’s comments came after two preseason blowout losses to Philadelphia and the Heat during which the team’s offense often looked lost and disjointed. Granted it’s really hard to judge a whole lot from a preseason game, especially the Net loss to Miami where both teams were missing significant starters.

Irving, who did not play in the Miami game because it was two days after his son was born, said it’s clear that the Nets are not playing their best brand of basketball.

“I think the low-hanging fruit that we could honestly all agree on is sometimes in possessions we’re not playing hard enough,” Irving said. “And you saw it against Miami the other night. They were really physical and we don't want that to be our stigma or M.O. in the league. Everybody knows each other, but the most physical teams usually win ball games, especially down the stretch.

“So we’ve got to be tougher. We’ve got to be more communicative on our defensive principles out there. We’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable at times. You know, we're going to mess up things but we don't want it to carry over to the next possession. And that's what our carry-over has been in practice . . . just onto the next play.

"Regardless of what the refs are doing, regardless what our opponent is doing we want to focus on us and make sure we put the best brand of basketball we can out there.”

Notes & quotes: Joe Harris, who missed Thursday’s preseason game with a sore foot, was also held out of practice Saturday. Nets coach Steve Nash said it was just a precaution and that he expected that Harris would travel with the team next week to Milwaukee and Minnesota.

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