Despite his team’s surprisingly poor start to the season, Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins is confident they’ll eventually get it together.
“We’re a work in progress,” Hollins told Mike Lupica on ESPN New York 98.7 a day after Brooklyn’s 121-105 loss in Boston. “We haven’t had as much work as we would’ve liked after going on the China trip. We didn’t really have the days of practice that we would’ve liked, but it’s all part of growing and becoming a good team.
“I still believe we’re going to get there, but it’s going to take a lot of work by us as coaches and by the players, as well. I think they’re willing to put in the work, and we’re not going to be the same team in January and February.”
Expectations too high for Bogie? Expectations are high for rookie Bojan Bogdanovic. But are they realistic?
Bogdanovic had seven points in 26 minutes in his NBA debut Wednesday night. At times he may not have been as aggressive as he should’ve been, and did have a few lapses on the defensive end.
“There’s a lot of high expectations for him. I think maybe too high,” Hollins said. “What I see is a guy who has a lot of versatility, who can do a lot of different things, but there’s still an adjustment period in him coming over from Europe.”
Hollins did say he has confidence in Bogdanovic because he’s more mature than most rookies at age 25. Still, Hollins noted that Bogdanovic is still learning the NBA game and how it’s much more physical than Europe. Also, the travel schedule is much more grueling. For example, Hollins said, in Europe, Bogdanovic would do two-a-day practices and then play once a week. In the NBA, you might practice once in a week and play 4-5 times.
“He is a young player who will have to adapt and we hope his learning curve is very flat,” Hollins said.
Normal minutes for Brook: Hollins said that when center Brook Lopez (right midfoot sprain) returns to the lineup, he will receive “normal minutes.” Hollins also reiterated that he expects to play Kevin Garnett normal minutes, as well. Hollins said he may let the bench play more in back-to-backs, but feels stronger that his players need to be on the court together and develop cohesion.
Hollins did admit that it would be nice to have Lopez back as an anchor on offense. The Nets don’t have any other bigs they can consistently feed the ball to in the post, so they had to use smalls like Joe Johnson and Deron Williams to fill that role.
It’s unknown when Lopez will return to the lineup. The expectation has been one of the first three games, though Hollins said Lopez will still feel pain when “going hard.”
D-Will’s debut: Point guard Deron Williams’ first game of the season turned out to be a mixed bag.
Williams shot 1-for-7 in the first half and had four turnovers overall, but wound up with 19 points and eight assists in 39 minutes. His shot began to fall in the second half.
Williams, sporting tape on his right hand/wrist, finished 6-for-16 from the field -- 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
He showed explosiveness when dribbling, and had some solid stretches of play. His surgically-repaired ankles certainly don’t seem to be hindering him.
“I felt pretty good,” Williams said. “It’s been a while since I played my last game [Oct. 20 in the preseason]. There’s been a little bit of time off, so I was kinda rusty out there -- especially in the first half I missed a lot of shots, missed some layups. But I’ll play better. I think we’ll all play better than we did tonight. We’re still trying to gel as a team, trying to get our timing down.”
Said Hollins: “I’m looking forward to him having a good year. I just hope everyone doesn’t expect him to go out there and average 25 points a game. I thought he was really aggressive in the second half and he got us going.”