You could call it ballroom dancing. Every day, the Nets switch from one ball room to another at the Walt Disney World. Venues change, times change.
Such change ... much like everything else about the “bubble.” For Nets coach Jacque Vaughn, change is his challenge.
“As a coaching staff we spent an extreme amount of time together kind of orchestrating what we thought the roster was going to look like and building some concepts off of that,” said Vaughn.
“We did have to make some adjustments and I think the biggest adjustment we made was just streamlining things and making things more simple just because of the different bodies we’re going to have. The hiatus plan that we had wrapped up in a nice box and bulb we won’t be able to unwrap and see all of that.”
As any Nets fan knows, the team is missing seven bodies: three three to injury, three to positive tests for the coronavirus and one who opted out. So far, the Nets have signed four players with room for one more. But none of them are currently available. Jamal Crawford, Michael Beasley and Donta Hall have been quarantining and Tyler Johnson just arrived in the last 24 hours.
Vaughn wouldn’t comment on rumors that the Nets are in talks to sign Lance Thomas just as he wouldn’t discuss the possible signing of Justin Anderson ... or any other health issues. He’s got to deal with what he has.
“I’m not going to mess with a HIPAA violation,” he said referring to the law that governs patient privacy. “we’re going to have a team.”
Joe Harris like Vaughn appeared on the Nets daily Zoom conference call with reporters. He agreed the Nets are dealing with changing requirements.
“We’re implementing some new stuff that JV has been thinking about and even talked to us about when we were in Brooklyn leading up to playing,” said Harris. “Now, it’s just about executing and making sure mentally we’re all on the same page.
“You look at our roster, and you’ve got to be realistic about the fact we’re not going to out-talent a lot of teams that we’re playing against. We are definitely limited, but one thing that we can control is not beating ourselves, make sure that everybody is executing and everybody is mentally engaged, making the right decisions and, again, not beating ourselves.”
The big issue, Harris noted, was the lack of size.
“I wish that [Vaughn] had me playing a little more point guard. That’s neither here nor there,” he joked when asked how all the change affects him. “Obviously my role is pretty much exactly the same. I don’t really change up a whole lot. You kinda plug me in any sort of scenario; I think maybe now because we are a little bit more undersized I probably will have to see a little bit more time at the 4.
“But aside from that, my role is pretty much exactly the same as it has been from the moment that I’ve been in Brooklyn.”
On a positive note, Vaughn spoke again about Caris LeVert’s development.
“That leadership, and it goes along with keeping guys accountable, it goes along with the communication, it goes with being OK taking criticism — that’s a part of leadership,” Vaughn said. “So Caris is really growing in those areas, and I think it’s a natural maturation as well; the fact that he is more comfortable in his skin as an individual.
“You saw that in his participation in some of his protests during the march, he’s just at a different level in his life, and I think that just goes with growing up and having more years in the league.”
As for the weirdest part of the “bubble,” Harris said it’s the “bubble” itself.
“The oddest part of the experience so far, I mean, I think it’s just pretty much the plain and simple fact that we’re all sort of isolated in Disney World,” said Joe Harris. “As simple as that.”
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot said it was seeing so many NBA players and staff all in one place. He noted he’s run into “former teammates, former coaches, former staff.”
Harris spoke as well about how his choice of uniform jersey. The NBA has provided players with a number of slogans and messages they can wear on their jerseys once play resumes on July 31.
“I think everyone is aware the NBA gave us a list of options to choose from. Some guys forgoed it. I think you respect everyone’s decision to do whatever they want to do,” Harris said without providing details. “I’m honestly not even sure what’s on the back of mine. I requested to have ‘Equality’ as my No. 1 option and ‘Vote’ as No. 2.”
Harris becomes the second Nets player to disclose his choice. Dzanan Musa has said he’s chosen “Equality and Peace.”
As for his shot, Harris smiled when asked if it was still working.
“Well I’ve actually been fortunate enough to be working out quite a bit since then,” he said. “Obviously we all were quarantined there early on for the first month and some change, but since then, I’ve been able to kind of get myself back where I normally am at. Three months worth of work can wear off in one month of rust, for sure.”
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