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Defense biggest problem for Brooklyn Nets in preseason opener

Al Bello/Getty Images

There were 19 turnovers and 19 missed shots in the paint, but the biggest issue for the Nets in their 101-96 loss to Fenerbahce Ulker was, surprise, defense.  The Nets have gotten younger and more athletic ... on the bench, with players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Thomas Robinson, Willie Reed and Shane Larkin, but their starting unit remains was it was last season: not so quick.

Repeatedly, the yellow-and-black from Istanbul ran plays that had the Nets missing assignments, not getting to the right place at the right time.

"From a quickness perspective, we are what we are," Hollins said Tuesday. "We just have to deal with it."

"Playing basketball is hard. Playing defense is hard. It’s effort, it’s getting comfortable with the schemes, it’s understanding where everybody’s supposed to be, it’s communicating early, it’s helping when you need to help and getting back to your own man," added Hollins.

As Tim Bontemps points out, the Nets core of Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson were a defensive deficit last season.

Last year, when that trio was on the court together, the Nets were outscored by 62 points in the 478 minutes they were on the court, and had a defensive rating of 114.5 points per 100 possessions — a number so bad, it would have been nearly five points per 100 possessions worse than the worst defense in the league (Minnesota).

Making things worse is the loss of Markel Brown, who won't even be re-evaluated until the end of the month.  Brown, who Hollins said could be the Nets' Tony Allen, started 29 games for the Nets last season, mainly because of his defense.

Meanwhile. Brook Lopez and Hollins talked about Lopez's three point shooting.  Neither suggested that it would a big part of the team's offense, but if teams give it to him, he'll take it.

"I’m not running any plays for him, but if he’s out there and it happens, it happens," Hollins said. "You guys think about stuff I don’t even think about."