Avery: "Excited" But "A Lot of Work"

Mar 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson reacts during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at the Prudential Center. New Jersey Nets defeat the Indiana Pacers 100-84. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

You can hardly call it lowering expectations, not when the team hasn't been to the playoffs in five years, but Avery Johnson once again was careful not to crow about his new team's prospects. Make no mistake though. Johnson IS excited about his team and points out the difference between going into camp this year and in previous years. Still, his mantra this pre-season continues to be, "We're excited about it. We know we've got a lot of work to do."

Here's what he told David Aldridge at the Hall of Fame ceremony Friday, where he honored his former coach, Don Nelson.

We're excited. Its sort of like when you have a low payroll and no expectations and your team's not very good. that stinks, right? But when you got a good talent pool and Billy King, our GM, and Mikhail Prokhorov, our owner, they've done a great job in increasing our talent pool and we're just excited. the key was getting Deron Williams re-signed. That was the main piece to the whole puzzle. We're excited about it. We know we've got a lot of work to do, but at least going into camp, we've got a lot of versatility, experience and guys with playoff experience and guys who are really competitive at their positions and we just want to put together a really good team.

It's no accident that Johnson praised the team's versatility. It's been something he's talked about all summer. Sam with how so many of his new players have playoff experience. "We just want to put together a really good team."

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