WASHINGTON -- It's about that time.
Roughly around 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Nets shuffled through the bowels of the Verizon Center, preparing for the first game of what they hope is a long journey that runs deep into June. They're tipping off a new era when they meet the Wizards in their preseason opener, one that has them unsure just how long it's going to take for them to effectively mesh together.
"I don’t know. I don’t know that," Kevin Garnett said prior to taking the court with his teammates at their first morning shootaround together. "I think that’s obviously the biggest question mark here, how soon we find or figure it out. It’s probably going to be key to all of this, how quickly these ingredients bond and mix."
At the moment, though, their chemistry experiment is going to receive an incomplete. That's because the Nets will be playing without Deron Williams (ankle) and Jason Terry (knee). Williams has yet to go through contact in practice, so the Nets are missing the other member of their $65-million starting unit.
"We probably really won't know what we are until we get Deron out there, get him acclimated before we start finding out what our true potential will be," Paul Pierce said. "... He’s going to be the engine that drives this and there’s only so much we can do until he gets back."
Still, there's a small part of them that's eager to get it going. It's one thing to scrimmage against each other, when the players knows what's coming on both sides. But it's a different scenario altogether when throwing a real lilve opponent into the mix, so the Nets are looking forward to putting their principles to work and gauge how their jigsaw puzzle fits.
"We see those pieces obviously in practice," Garnett said. "We’ll see how it does against other systems. I think it’s more systems more than anything, seeing how our system goes up against other systems is what we are trying to obviously see."
Garnett, as it's been well chronicled, is quickly adapting to his new teammates and rapidly turned into one of the Nets' most vocal players on the court. His talkative nature is contagious, and his teammates love his communicative style.
"I’m not the only voice on here," Garnett said. "The guys I do have dialogue with, it’s been totally cool. The reception has been good, vice versa. I’ve been trying to understand other guys too. But the communication level is very, very ... It’s encouraging, but it’s also very good and flowing. So it’s open."
Just like Garnett had to be open to leaving Boston to come to Brooklyn.
"I don’t like change, but I feel like in order to get better, I think change has to happen in some situations," Garnett said. "I’ve adapted to the change and everything is flowing pretty well right now. I’m going to try to continue to keep it like that."