Nets have 'better feeling' already

DURHAM, N.C. -- The Jason Kidd coaching era began on Tuesday with a two-hour, high-energy, defensive-oriented practice for the Brooklyn Nets at Duke's practice facility. And it didn't take Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry long to make an impression on their new teammates.

Garnett practically provided a soundtrack to the practice with his much-needed chirping on defense.

"I don't want to say night and day from last year but it is just a different feeling," point guard Deron Williams said. "The energy was better. It was more intense. Just a better feeling."

"I don't know why. I can't give you an explanation," Williams added. "It just feels different. The energy is better, the excitement is there."

In his first practice as head coach, Kidd didn't do a lot of talking, according to players. He calmly let lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank and others on the staff lay down the foundation of the team's defense while periodically interjecting when needed. Kidd could be seen giving more personal instruction to some players on the side while Frank ran the team through drills.

Terry played with Kidd in Dallas and said the future Hall of Fame point guard coached like he did as a player on the court.

"He looked just as he did when I was in training camp with him in 2011," Terry said. "Just calm (and) collected, knew what he wanted to get done. When he spoke, people listened. It looked kind of easy for him. Obviously, his preparation, it looked like he prepared very well for this day."

The Nets open camp with championship contending expectations after the additions of Garnett, Pierce, Terry and Andrei Kirilenko to a roster that already included Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. On Monday night, the Nets had a team dinner upon arriving in North Carolina and players and coaches held a meeting in which the players did most of the talking.

"Really it was kind of role reversal," Kidd said. "A lot of times coaches will talk but this was a good time for coaches to listen and hear what the players had to say."

Brooklyn opened its first practice at 9:45 a.m. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke to the Nets, who are holding training camp in Durham this week. And soon after, Garnett began doing what he does best -- communicating and quarterbacking the defense on the court.

"(Garnett) has a huge impact, he has everyone talking (on the court)," Kidd said. "He's a guy that only knows one way, he's a professional. And you saw that this morning, from the time he touched the floor to the time he walked off."

Williams and Lopez said the team's defensive foundation had already begun to change from last season.

"We have to be able to limit teams to, (as) KG said, under 80 points," Williams said. "That is definitely tough to do but that is what you want to strive for."

"Definitely the communication wasn't as good as it needed to be (last year)," Williams added. "I don't think the trust was there defensively and that is what we are kind of trying to build."

Terry says Kidd's system is molded from a mixture of the different coaches he played under during his 19 seasons as a player combined with some other aspects from the Celtics and Nets. Frank coached the Nets and was an assistant with the Celtics.

"It's gumbo," Terry said. "He got Dallas, Phoenix, I saw some Boston stuff today ... obviously L-Frank had some stuff from when he was in Jersey. Just a melting pot of a lot of different things. But at the end of the day it is about defense."

The practices will only get better once Williams and Terry are back at full strength. The two point guards were only able to go through a limited practice due to injuries. Williams sprained his right ankle and suffered a bone bruise during an offseason workout in Utah. He hopes to be cleared for full contact at some point in the next week or two.

Terry said he had surgery to clean up his left knee after last season and hopes to be ready for a full practice on Thursday.