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AP asks: Are the Brooklyn Nets championship contenders? The answer is yes, says Billy King

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Alex Goodlett

You already know the mantra of the Nets this preseason: low expectations but high hopes.  The off-season was, as Andy Vasquez put it, "a purposeful quiet" which the Nets hope will lead to what Greg Hryina described as a "sneaky good" team.

Brian Mahoney of AP is out with his season preview of the Nets and while he doesn't predict the number of wins, he does quote Billy King. The GM matches the writers' sentiments this way: "Maybe last year we got too much respect, the year before maybe we didn't" and "Our goal is still to try to win a championship, We're not taking steps back or anything like that."

He's said that before, like when Paul Pierce suggested the Nets were out of the contention business, arguing "they're a franchise that's going in a different direction, I think. They said they wanted to cut costs, they felt like they weren't going to be a contender." (King could have responded to Jason Kidd's similar comments the other day, but the Nets seem to be adhering to a vow of silence.)

So does Mahoney believe King.  Here's his take. "Those two (Deron Williams and Brook Lopez) and Johnson were the core of a team that won 49 games just two years ago. So although the Nets aren't getting the headlines of a year ago, they might end up with better results."

Among the things to watch, writes Mahoney, is the Nets start, writing, "With Hollins' experience and what they hope is improved health, they will look for a much better beginning" than 10-21.