The Day After: Brooklyn Nets shrug off their new teammate ... but they know it's a big deal

Brooklyn Nets

Are their deep stats for bonding?  For inspiration?  Probably not.

Still, the one theme that runs through the aftermath of Jason Collins arrival is that it may have made a good team of good guys closer. To a man, they support their new teammate, respect him.  Paul Pierce seems to lead the way.

"We welcome him here with open arms, and I'm happy that he's the one that I know and has the courage to be able to come out and say it. And the good thing about this team is we have embraced him and I think the NBA has embraced him. I think the sports world has embraced him and that's going to be good moving forward."

It shouldn't surprise anyone really. Collins played with Jason Kidd for six years, Joe Johnson for three and Kevin Garnett and Pierce for half a year. As he says, when you've been in the league for as long as he has, you get to know a lot of teammates. Deron Williams said it's not just abut history; it's about his BBIQ.

"He made some big plays on defense, I thought he played great defense on [Lakers center Pau Gasol], he’s a heck of screener.  "I played with his brother [Jarron, in Utah], and he’s a heck of a screener. He gets you open. He was instrumental in this win tonight...

"I’m happy to see him on a team, and I’m happy he’s on our team."

In fact, one does have to wonder if Jason Kidd, whose idea this was, brought in Collins as much for his inspiration as for what he can do as player. Overcoming adversity, sacrificing, bringing out the best in others is part of any good team's narrative.

And there is Collins the role model, the player who chose the year a gay college student was tortured to death as his uniform number, the player whose experience mirrors that of Collins and may be encouraged to show the same courage. He's shied away from that the first two days back in the NBA, but it's out there.

In the next few games, the spotlight will dim a bit as Collins job becomes more mundane as 14th man's should. Then, as his 10-day winds down, it will be back to New York where the outsider isn't just appreciated and accepted, but exalted.  Should be an interesting 10 days ... or maybe more.

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