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Nets silence the hype, intend to make noise on the court

Deron Williams controls the ball against the Orlando

Deron Williams controls the ball against the Orlando Magic in the first half of a game at Barclays Center on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

They've seemingly done everything except trot out famed ring announcer Michael Buffer these past two years, finding never-ending sources of fuel to keep filling the gas tank on the hype machine.

In making their move to Brooklyn and trying to firmly establish their roots back on this side of the Hudson River, the Nets haven't exactly gone about things quietly, thoroughly enjoying themselves while elbowing their way into conversation locally and leaguewide.

There's been attention-grabbing trades leading into their initial two seasons since their rebrand. Boastful championship talk. Record payroll and luxury taxes doled out. Coaching changes. Marketing slogans tossed around. Occasional witty one-liners from their Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

The Nets were always on the radar somehow, at times painting a bull's-eye squarely on their foreheads while essentially handing the opposition a bow and arrow and daring them to hit the target. So perhaps that's why -- after an offseason that began with Jason Kidd's botched power play pushing him out the door to coach the Bucks and included Paul Pierce leaving as an unrestricted free agent to play for the Wizards -- they're embracing silence and are readying for a different approach to the 2014-15 campaign.

"Yeah, I like the fact everybody is talking about other teams," general manager Billy King said earlier this week. "Let us focus and do our work. I think for two years in a row, it's something we created ourselves. We beat our own drums. And this year, it's more, 'Let's just play basketball and see where we go from there.' "

With their success squarely attached to the health of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, both of whom are coming off surgery, and their depth not of the same proven quality of a season ago, few think the Nets can hang with the Eastern Conference's upper echelon. Remember, they lost Shaun Livingston, who started 54 games and formed a nice backcourt tandem with Williams, to the Warriors in free agency, replacing him via trade with Jarrett Jack.

Who knows what Kevin Garnett has left?

Bojan Bogdanovic, a 6-8 sharpshooter and their other top offseason acquisition, will likely have to go through an adjustment period as the Croatian gets acclimated to a different style than he was accustomed to in Europe.

Don't forget the coaching change necessitated when Kidd's shot at gaining personnel control was foiled, meaning the Nets will have to adjust to yet another philosophy under new coach Lionel Hollins.

Add just those key question to the knowledge the Cavaliers, Bulls, Wizards and even Hornets are much improved, and it's not hard to figure out why the Nets have become an afterthought to some.

Still, the Nets are unmoved by the lack of chatter and instead are embracing their overlooked status.

"It's good," Williams said last week. "I think it's good. Just flying under the radar. We got a lot of work to do. When you get in between the lines, anything can happen. Our job is to get better, and jell as a team over training camp and the first month, and be ready to go by November."

New York Sports