Starting Five: D-Will on doubters

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Deron Williams didn’t take it as a slight that none of the NBA’s GMs picked the Brooklyn Nets to win the championship this season.

“I mean Miami has won it the last two years. They’re the favorites," the Nets point guard said Tuesday. “We’ve got some work to do. I think it’s tough to come together and win a championship in your first year. I’m not saying it can’t be done. We’re looking to do that.

“As far as people not picking us, that’s all right. We’re worried about us getting better, and if we can get to the playoffs and everybody’s healthy, we have a chance to beat anybody.”

Williams is right in more than one respect. The Heat still have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, so they just might complete a three-peat. But it’s interesting to remember: Not even this group could win a title in Year 1.

More than 75 percent voted for the Heat to win again, with Indiana, San Antonio, Chicago, the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City also receiving votes.

What did you think of D-Will’s comment? Let us know in the comments section below.

Who’s playing tonight: D-Will (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back), Paul Pierce (rest) and Kevin Garnett (rest) aren’t.

That’s progress: D-Will went through five-on-five half-court contact drills for the first time Tuesday. This is great news.

KG The Leader: Read all about it here.

GMs vote: They like the Nets more than the Knicks. Uh oh. More here.

The Mag thinks: The Nets will finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. Their odds of winning a title are 3.6 percent.