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Hollinger: Brooklyn Nets "could be very, very good" IF they play "D," stay healthy

Defense, defense, defense. That's what John Hollinger says the Nets need if they want to be a contender, but if they "could be very, very good." But he has his doubt that Avery Johnson can get them to defend.

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

We can all nit-pick John Hollinger's Nets preview...he says the Nets injuries "weren't that bad;" that he is still lamenting the loss of their 2012 draft pick in the Gerald Wallace deal and even thinks the Nets gave up too much in the Joe Johnson deal! Oh yes, he believes Billy King overpaid just about everybody but particularly Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and even Deron Williams! Finally, nary a word on Andray Blatche.

But the bottom line for Hollinger is this "watch the defense carefully in the early part of the season, because there's an upside buried here: If the Nets get consistent stops and stay healthy, they could be very, very good."

Hollinger does doubt that the Nets will improve their defense this season. Part of it is that he doesn't have confidence in Avery Johnson's ability to get his charges to play it. "While his situation was less than ideal last season, the Nets have finished 21st and 29th in defense in his two seasons at the helm. Suffice it to say that won't be acceptable this time around."

The ESPN statistical guru also reiterated his optimism about Tyshawn Taylor. Of the Nets two purchased pick, Hollinger wrote, "I like Taylor much better; he was undervalued on draft day, has better shooting stats than his reputation and his defense could allow him to play immediately." Hollinger, in fact, had Taylor rated higher than Damian Lillard, based on their college numbers.