Before taking the court for his fourth home opener with the Nets, Deron Williams gave a group interview. Speaking for about five and a half minutes, Williams touched on the season so far and Brook Lopez's return.
Here is the transcript from the conversation with the media.
Q: What kind of reception are you expecting from fans at the Barclays Center?
A: It's great to be home. I think the season opener's always exciting whether it's the first game of the season or not. You're getting back to playing in front of your fans and it's definitely a different excitement when you're home. These fans have been great to us the last two years and it's just going to continue to get better.
Q: What does it mean to have Brook back on the court?
A: "It means a lot. We've been missing Brook out there with his low-post presence. We need him on both ends of the floor. He just means a lot to this team. I'm excited to have him back and he's excited to be back.
Q: Is there a difficulty in preparing for an opponent that is missing its two best players?
A: "I think you just can't assume you're going to win because they have some guys out. They've definitely been depleted by injuries but I've been a part of teams where we've had some guys out and other guys stepped up. I've watched them play a little bit and that's what they're doing.
Q: How do you prepare for opposing offense before games?
A: "I watch a lot of film. That's key. You watch guys and you see their tendencies they like to go left, they like to go right, crossover, hesitate. It's just different things you can pick when you watch the games, study it. All of it is about technique and what we do as a team defensively because it is team defense. Of course I want to try and contain my man as much as possible, but I know I'm going to get in a lot of pick-and-rolls and the bigs have to be up helping and talking and guys behind them have to have their backs, so it's a lot about team defense.
Q: Do you know what the identity of this team will be?
A: "A winning team hopefully. That's what we want to do, we want to win. However we have to do, scrap, claw, fight, we want to be a solid defensive team. That's a must if you want to be a winning team. I'm not worried about offense at all.
Q: How hard is it to re-integrate a guy like Brook?
A: "He's been out there. He's been in practice and was there pretty much all of training camp and most of the preseason. We got some games with him under our belt. A guy like that is pretty much easy to integrate because you can throw the ball to him and let him go to work and you don't have to worry about him."
Q: Is it exciting to have Brook back?
Q: Have you guys figured out how to weather through the times that Lopez has been out and may be out in the future?
A: "I think so. We like him out there as much as possible. It's definitely a luxury. We have had to figure out how to play without him. We have had to have smaller lineups but I don't want to think like that. I want to think like Brook is going to be out there for the entire season because we need him."
Q: How does Lopez fit into the up-tempo style of the first two games?
A: "Brook can run. He's not the fastest guy. He can run. He can run the floor and use his size to his advantage.
Q: You're in the upper echelon of how much guys have run in the first two games, does it feel that way?
A: "I'm pretty sore after the first two games. Playing 40 minutes both games is a lot after surgery but it's something I think is good as well. It's something my body can get used to and adjust. I'm fine with it.
Q: Do you have a time frame in mind when you will not have to think about the ankles?
A: "Not really. I'm not thinking too much right now. Some days are better than others right now, I'm not going to lie. Some days it's stiff, it's sore. They feel way better than all of last year so that's the most promising thing. Being able to play 40 minutes in two games and being able to walk is great, so as far as timetables, it's a process."
Q: Do you like the way the team closed out Saturday's game in Detroit?
A: "I think so. The game is about runs and they made a run. In that fourth quarter, we were able to take a lead from them but we stayed poised, we stayed focused. We got the stops we needed on the defensive end and Joe made a lot of big plays on the offensive end. So I'm definitely glad we could close that one out."