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Nets less about hype this time around

Deron Williams driving to the basket against Miami

Deron Williams driving to the basket against Miami Heat's Norris Cole in the second quarter of Game 2 in the second round of the NBA playoffs at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on May 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

There weren't any grandiose news conferences this year, nothing with the gusto of the one at Brooklyn's city hall two summers ago trumpeting the franchise's arrival in the borough.

This time around, there wasn't any reason to invite the media to Barclays Center to introduce veterans with championship pedigrees, as the Nets did last year with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Brash talk has vanished and the Nets have a noticeably calmer aura these days as they tip off their third season in Brooklyn.

It's a distinctive, unmistakable change after the pomp and circumstance that led into the Nets' first two seasons after they moved east of the Hudson River.

"This year is a little different,'' Joe Johnson said. "It's not a lot of hype about anything. About Brooklyn. About us having Paul and KG. And so we are just kind of mellow at this point. And I think it gives guys a chance to kind of focus and put the team first and try to be the best we can be on the court.''

For that to happen, they'll need big seasons from Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, meaning they are relying heavily on two players who had offseason surgery and have registered mostly injury-marred campaigns of late.

A seamless assimilation of their top two offseason acquisitions -- Bojan Bogdanovic, who played the last three seasons in Europe, and Jarrett Jack -- also is extremely key for these optimistic Nets.

They are eager to see how it all shakes out under Lionel Hollins, their fourth coach in three seasons.

"I think the new additions are going to be great,'' Johnson said. "You've got a great backup point guard in Jarrett Jack who can obviously move over and play the 'two' and play alongside Deron. It gives us another guy who can create, make plays and score the basketball. And with the additions of Bogey [Bogdanovic] and Sergey [Karasev], those guys can flat-out shoot it and have high IQs, can really pass like AK [Andrei Kirilenko]. I think the sky is the limit for us.''

Stagnant, isolation-based schemes aren't a part of Hollins' makeup, meaning the Nets will keep the ball moving to get the best possible shot -- not the first available shot.

An old-school coach with traditional views of the sport, Hollins hates the individualizing of teams. He's all about the entire unit and preaches as such, underlining the point consistently.

The 10-year NBA veteran is all about team-oriented thinking.

"It's the way the game was created: five-man basketball,'' Hollins said. "Playing together, everybody knowing where everybody else is. You can have one great individual. I played with one great individual in Julius Erving, and we got to the Finals, and the Lakers overwhelmed us twice because they had more of a team and the way their offense was structured.

"When I was in Portland, we played Philadelphia. Our team play overcame their individual stars . . . You look at what San Antonio did to Miami [last June]. LeBron James is the greatest player on the planet, but yet the team overcame that one individual. It's just the way the game is created and that's the beauty of the game, having five people thinking the same way, flowing the same way.''

Said Johnson: "We have a lot of work to do. It's not going to be easy and you are going to have your rough patches throughout the season, but we should overcome all of that. We should be a pretty good ballclub.''

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