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Brooklyn Nets performance sneaking up on pundits?

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Here and there, you start to see it ... in Jonathan Tjarks appreciation of Joe Johnson on RealGM. Or Miles Wray's excellent breakdown of Deron Williams game. Or Devin Kharpertian's deep dive into Brook Lopez's first game.  Or the two pieces Wednesday morning on Lionel Hollins, one by Shlomo Strung in Sheridan Hoops and one by William C. Rhoden in the Times.

What, you may ask?  A sneaking suspicion that the Nets are a very good basketball team with very good basketball players and a very good coach.  Oh, we know, it's early and a loss to the Timberwolves at Barclays could send everyone into a panic, but if the Nets win Wednesday night, they will be tied for first in the East with a 3-1 record.

As Tjarks wrote Tuesday in his Johnson profile, "Few are talking about Brooklyn this season, but they are still a dangerous team that no one in the East is going to want to play in the first round."   And everyone is raving about the healthy Deron Williams.  As Wray writes, "Deron’s totals on the evening were 17 points on eight shots, alongside only two turnovers (one of which was a questionable offensive foul call) and nine assists." He described that as "about as close to perfect as it gets. And this is not a one off. This is how Williams plays."

Kharpertian details Lopez's extraordinary efficiency: "Lopez scored 18 points despite only touching the ball in the frontcourt 16 times. That’s right: Lopez scored more than a point not just per possession, but for every time he touched the ball in the frontcourt."

The two Hollins pieces look at the coach in a different way. Sprung talks to veteran Nets players about their boss while Rhoden talks to Hollins.

"So far he’s a guy that demands the attention of us," Jarrett Jack told SheridanHoops. "As grown men and professionals that’s not always the case. Everybody can’t do that." Johnson, who like Jack, has seen his share of coaches agrees. "We had a great training camp and the one thing as a player that you really respect about him is that he’s very, very honest. And you have to respect it whether you like it or not."

Rhoden listened to Hollins describe himself as "meat and potatoes" coach, the phrase Mikhail Prokhorov used.

"Does it mean that I have expectations? I have demands? I expect players to be responsible. I hold them accountable. I expect discipline, and I don’t mean discipline where I fine you for being late. The discipline to do what you’re supposed to do."

Yes, again, we know it's early. Yes, we know it's a small sample size. Yes, we know there is a tough west coast swing next week. But as Rhoden notes in closing the way is clear.

The Nets’ arena is more dramatic than the Knicks’ Madison Square Garden; they have a better coach; and, for now, a better team. But they are still the Nets, and they are still in Brooklyn.

If the Nets have any hope of shifting the gaze away from Manhattan — even a little — they must win consistently. Forget the glitzy fireworks, the Jay-Z and Beyoncé sightings, real estate and rumors of a sale.

Forget old school, forget new school.

Winning is timeless.

And so it is.