John Schuhmann of NBA.com lays it out simply and directly: The new uniforms, new arena and new hype are all nice, BUT when the Nets take the court on November 1, "the arena and the uniforms and the publicity won't matter. What will is how well they play defense."
Schuhmann noted last year that the Nets approached historical levels of futility early in the season. Now, he reports that Avery Johnson has said the Nets need to be top 10 this season.
It's not completely out of the question, he notes. "The Raptors made a similar leap (from 30th to 12th) last year. And wouldn't you know it, the last team to go from the bottom five to the top 10 in defensive efficiency was the 2004-05 Dallas Mavericks. Avery Johnson was a defensive assistant on that team before taking over as head coach for the final 18 games."
- Nets' success dependent on defensive improvement - John Schuhmann - NBA.com