Twenty-two days away. With the off-season completed, it's back to business for the Brooklyn Nets and the other 29 teams in the NBA. A lot has changed since we last saw the Nets in the 2014 playoffs, and throughout this preseason, we'll have a chance to take a look at the new members of the team, a new coach and all their expected roles. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Making the trip all the way from Israel to Brooklyn for the preseason opener will be the Maccabi Tel Aviv ball club, who are on a world tour. Maccabi has been one of the more successful international teams in recent years, winning three Euroleague Championships since 2000, including last season's title. They lost their first game in the States on Sunday to the new look Cavaliers, but it's preseason so nobody really cares about the scoreboard. .
There'll be a bit of controversy surrounding this event. Before the game starts, there will be a "VIP Celebration" hosted by the Friends of Israeli Defense Forces that will honor 12 Israeli fighters that were involved in the latest conflict in Gaza as well as NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, a native New Yorker. There has been a strong pushback to Israel's actions in the region and prior to the game, there will be protests near the Barclays Center.
The big thing people will be paying attention to is how Brook Lopez and Deron Williams look in their return to action. Lopez has been out of action since last December when he broke his foot in Philadelphia. One of the narratives surrounding the big guy since he came into the league has been a lack of toughness.
New coach Lionel Hollins, who'll be coaching his first game in a year and a half, has made mention of that and is currently working to turn the former All Star into a tougher and better big man. As for Williams, he had surgery on both of his ankles and has come into camp in great shape.
One of the things that hindered the Nets offense last year was stagnation. At times, there was no ball or player movement and that made them easy to defend. Hollins has mentioned that he wants to emphasize movement and that should work to make players like Joe Johnson and Williams even more effective. You won't see all of the sets Brooklyn will employ in the preseason, but you will get a rough sketch as to what Hollins hopes will work out.
Where to follow the game
It's preseason, so not everything will be broadcast\ on television (although that figures to change in the near future) Tuesday's game will be broadcast on BBC Radio station 5+ Live according to the Maccabi Tel Aviv website but if so, we couldn't find it on the BBC schedule. We hope to have more later on where to find the game ... if anywhere other than NBA.com..
Player to Watch: Bojan Bogdanovic
For a lot of people, this will be their first time catching Bojan (no "d" in his first name. That's for Bogdan, the Phoenix draft pick). With Alan Anderson out with a sore right abdominal muscle, look for Bogdanovic to get the start with the first team. He's gotten some work in with them and has looked good. He has a reputation for being a great scorer and that should help with this offense immensely. Mirza Teletovic recently discussed what Bojan brings to the table, saying:
He gets to move a lot. He's a pretty complete player. His motor, both offensively and defensively, is pretty good. So he gets to come off screens. He gets to cut to the basket. He gets to post up. So, he gets to use both sides of his offense."
Should be interesting to see how he does once the level of competition is elevated. It's a tough break for Anderson, who played for Maccabi before joining the Raptors three years ago.
For Maccabi, the backcourt of Jeremy Pargo and Sylven Landesberg is the team strength. Against Cleveland, they combined for 41 points, with Landesberg, a Virginia product, canning three of four three pointers. Also worth watching: Alex Tyus, their 6'8" power forward out of Florida.
On Wednesday morning, the Nets will pack up and head for Shanghai, a 14 and a half hour flight. They play Sacramento on the weekend.
From the Vault
Head on back to 1997 and watch Michael Jordan in action against international team Olympiakos.
More reading: SB Nation NBA
- With Purpose and Perspective, Nets’ Kevin Garnett Enters His 20th Season - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- Game time finally here for Brooklyn Nets - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Lionel Hollins expects Kevin Garnett's minutes to increase - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Hollins: Kevin Garnett looks ‘great,’ wants him to play back-to-backs - Brian Erni - SNY Nets
- Garnett reflects on Class of 1995 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- The Maccabi Experience (Video) - Alan Anderson - Brooklyn Nets
- Sylven Landesberg: Representing in Brooklyn! - World Tour Blog - Sylven Landesberg - Euroleague