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No superstars, no game-changers, Brooklyn Nets head off to war

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets have spent the last five years pursuing --and acquiring star players.  There was the MeloDrama and the Dwightmare that didn't yield the desired result, but they did trade for Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, all multiple All-Stars, two NBA champions, two Olympic gold medal winners.

Those days are over, as Tim Bontemps notes, so who --and what-- do the Nets rely on?  Tim Bontemps asked Lionel Hollins, who may very well be the "who," about the "what."

"You just go out and play and compete," Hollins said after Thursday’s practice. "Compete every time you’re on the court. You play fresh. You play hard. … There’s been great players in the league forever. I played with great players, I played against great players, and you just go out and compete and be great. That’s the key.

"Be aggressive, and make the other team be better. You can’t come out at [half speed] and beat us. You have to come out here and be at your best and beat us. That’s what you are trying to convince your team to do [as a coach]."

That's not his --or any other coach's-- preference.  As he said, he's prefer to coach five All-Stars.  (Jason Kidd did, two years ago ... how'd that work out?)

As Bontemps notes, this is all about Hollins and how much he can get from this group.  He did pretty well in Memphis when he started. Zach Randolph had a checkered NBA career and no one seemed to want him. Marc Gasol was a throw-in in a one-sided deal that sent his brother to L.A.  Tony Allen was seen as trouble if talented and Mike Conley Jr. somewhat of a bust.

To paraphrase a former Nets from a former career, is anything possible?