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Meanwhile at practice... Markel Brown soars

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was Markel Brown's time in the spotlight Thursday as the Nets got closer to the team's first preseason game Tuesday night vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Brown, the 6'3" combo guard from Oklahoma State was taken 44th in the draft, with a pick purchased from the Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.1 million.  Perhaps the most athletic player on the team, Brown proved his mettle at the end of the camp's longest and most intense scrimmage.

Ohm Youngmisuk describes the scene.

Markel Brown drove baseline and threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk in traffic, the perfect way to end practice.

"Shut the practice down," an impressed Deron Williams said. "Shut it down. We have seen a couple [of his dunks in practice but] not like this."

The Nets have long known about his athleticism. He had the highest recorded max vertical at this year's pre-Draft Combine with a 43.5" leap.  The questions have been, can he shoot well enough --and consistently enought-- to play shooting guard or handle the ball well enough to be a point guard.

Lionel Hollins told Lenn Robbins he's been impressed so far.

"He's worked hard on his shot. We're getting to the point where we're not surprised when he makes them.  When he first game in, we had a conversation about that to be a player in this league -- he has all the athleticism -- but if he can make shots, open shots, he's got a real chance to establish himself in the league and so far, so good.

I said to myself, man, I want to see him in a game. Now that I've seen him make shots every day in practice, I want to see him in games make shots."

Hollins wasn't the only one impressed. Williams said Brown "shot the peel off of [the ball]" on Thursday. But the dunks...

"He had a 360 the other day on the break," said Williams.. "[But today’s dunk] was over [Mason Plumlee], on Mase’s head. Get that on film?" Indeed they did!

When Hollins was asked what kind of tempo he hopes to run, he went all Motown.

"We are going to be like Gladys Knight and the Pips," Hollins said, trying an impromptu dance step . "I don’t know what our tempo is going to be.

"We are trying to run when we have a break and push it up when they make a bucket and get in our offense early," Hollins added. "I don’t think we are going to be lightning fast or blowing it up the court but we will get up and down the court and play a little quicker."

Andrei Kirilenko showed some signs of improvement going through a non-contact scrimmage while Sergey Karasev (foot) and Alan Anderson (abdominal muscle) sat.  Kirilenko, remaining cautious said, "Still no contact but feels way better."

During today's four-quarter scrimmage, Bojan Bogdanovic played with the starters.