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With training camp opening Tuesday, Nets goal is to win that last game

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2021 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Sometime early Monday afternoon, the Nets will fly out to San Diego for the opening of camp. Their off-season is done (unless we hear about a 20th camp invite Monday), their workouts in Brooklyn and Media Day will be done (and perhaps we should have a better understanding of the team’s vaccination status, too.)

The focus, apart from playing in front of their co-owners, will be trying to finish what they started last season. The Nets official slogan may be “NetsWorld” but the players and coaches’ mantra is “unfinished business.” More than one player has said it and based on that you can expect it’s a phrase tossed about in team chats.

In a number of training camp previews published over the weekend, the Nets are getting high marks for their off-season, led by their getting the best player in the world under contract through 2026. There may be questions about the glut of big men and the bench overhaul, but the general belief remains that has been all summer: the Brooklyn Nets are the favorite to hold up the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.

As Brian Lewis wrote in the Post, “For many of the Nets, winning an NBA title isn’t just their stated goal, but an expectation. Similarly, Greg Logan in Newsday writes, “the Nets rank as the consensus favorite to win the 2022 NBA title based on the leadership of their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.” Zach Harper of The Athletic put it more succinctly, “championship or bust.”

In assessing the team’s challenges, the pundits have focused on whether the Nets losses of mainstays like Jeff Green and Spencer Dinwiddie can be erased or mitigated by the signings of veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap and Patty Mills. The general assessment is that the Nets may have overloaded the frontcourt, but that in general the bench is better, particularly at the big positions.

The Nets still have some minor questions, like fitting 16 standard NBA contracts into 15 roster spots or how much time rookies like Cam Thomas, Day’Ron Sharpe or Kessler Edwards will spend on the court in Uniondale versus time on the bench in Brooklyn.

The Nets don’t seem worried about Joe Harris nor the logjam up top. After all, they have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.