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Final day of camp takeaways: Nets Big 3 expected to play preseason opener, Seth Curry update

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets' six-day training camp ended Sunday afternoon in Industry City. Following the team’s shootaround Monday morning at HSS Training Facility, the team will head to Barclays Center to host the Sixers for their preseason opener. Here’s everything you need to know from the last day of camp.

Nets Big 3 expected to play in preseason opener (barring any setbacks)

Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn will be nearly at full strength against Philadelphia, and the Nets head coach doesn’t plan on resting any of the team’s stars. Barring any setbacks, Brooklyn’s new Big 3 — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons are all expected to take the hardwood at Barclays Center Monday night.

Durant disclosed that he expects to play in all four Nets preseason contests but doesn’t know how many minutes per contest he’ll play. That goes for all three superstars. Steve Nash is on the same page as Durant.

“Yeah, that’d be great. That’d be great,” Nash said following Brooklyn’s final training camp practice. “If he’s in a good place physically, it’d be great if he could play our games.”

It’s been a long wait with a lot of drama along the way but the wait is expected to finally come to a close. Simmons is on track to make his Nets debut. Just like all Nets fans, Nash couldn’t hold in his smile when asked how enjoyable it’ll be when he’ll be able to coach his 26-year-old star in a game setting.

“It’s a lot of fun for me,” said Nash on how excited he is to finally see Simmons play as a Net. “I’m such a believer in his game. He’s such a dynamic, unique player, does so many things while on the basketball court. And I think he’s a great complement to our team. He makes his teammates better at both ends. So just giving him the support and platform to return from the injury and then long layoff, and then allowing him to continually grow with our group. So, it's very exciting.”

The preseason opener is a test to see if the work Brooklyn put in across the six-day camp will play off. It’s first preseason contest — a contest that’ll have Brooklyn go up against their own former disgruntled star in James Harden who forced his way out of the borough. All that said, the Nets head coach mostly wants to see fundamentals … and the transfer of the team’s practiced principles on the hardwood.

“At this stage of the season, all you can ask for is a kind of transfer and more practice for the things we’ve put in. So it’s all the things that we’ve worked on this week, largely a lot of fundamental stuff, so important as we build our base, both sides on the floor as we get a little more understanding in our principles,” Nash said. “And then the last piece is just more reps playing together. You know, largely a lot of new guys again this year, and this time is really important for us as well.”

Seth Curry still not cleared for 5-on-5 but ‘getting closer every day’

Brooklyn Nets Media Day Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Nets will be without Seth Curry (ankle) for likely three of their four preseason contests but the hope remains that the guard could play in the preseason finale against the Timberwolves at the Target Center Friday, October 14, five days before Opening Night. Nash wouldn’t guarantee Curry will play in the preseason finale. It will come down to how the tail end of his rehab develops. Curry underwent the surgery May 9.

“That’d be ideal. Can’t guarantee it, you know? Whenever he’s ready, he’ll be ready,” said Nash on Curry. “To be determined. We’ve got to monitor his progress every day and see how it progresses.”

There hasn’t been much change in Curry’s health status since the veteran guard stated he was 85 to 90 percent during Monday’s Media Day. On the final day of training camp, he stated he’s been doing individual workouts and a bit of everything except playing 5-on-5. Reporters witnessed Curry doing bench presses and ropes in the closing of practice. When Nash was asked further about the guard’s individual workouts — workouts with coaches — he delivered the jokes.

“It’s more like phony defense by coaches, how’s that?”

There is no secret Brooklyn commonly takes slow and a precautionary approach to injuries. The same f holds true with Curry. Both sides are taking that approach for the final benchmarks of his five month long ankle rehab.

“Getting closer every day. Doing a little bit more and more every day. I’m trying to be smart about it,” Curry said. “Pass all the tests I need to pass and get ready to go, and stay mentally engaged at the same time to be ready for the season.”

Throughout the offseason, several players made pit stops in Brooklyn to work on their game and get a head start on learning their teammates. Curry was one of those Nets and the guard dropped a key piece of information Sunday afternoon. He believes the lack of continuity in the 2021 offseason resulted in Brooklyn skipping some steps defensively and relying too heavily on their gifted offensive scorers.

“It’s good. I still haven’t been on the floor but I see Joe play in a practice setting. It’s the first time seeing Ben [Simmons] up close. Last year, we kind of came in and kinda playing pickup because we skipped a lot of the steps as far as the basis of what we wanted to do defensively. And offensively, we were relying on pure talent to try to win games, so it’s good to come in with a basis of what the coaches want from this team and try to let everyone fit into their roles, and everybody’s been in there in practice except me and TJ [Warren]. It’s been good to see.”

Even though Curry wasn’t able to get out on the HSS Training Facility hardwood with his teammates in scrimmages, he’s gotten a full picture of the environment and the chemistry that is building between his teammates.

“It’s good. It’s good,” said Curry on the chemistry of the group. “Everybody’s getting along. Everyone’s trying to figure into their roles individually. Like I said, everyone’s sharing the ball and playing together in practice. Hopefully continue to play with each other as the preseason goes along, get to know each other out on the floor, and take advantage of these training camp days and these games.”

When you put all the pieces together from that head start in chemistry to a healthy majority of Brooklyn’s roster out on the hardwood at training camp, the end result should be focused excitement. To the shooting guard, that’s what stood out to him the most at camp.

“I think the focus level has been really good. The pace, guys pushing the ball and playing unselfishly. It’s the excitement of a new year. That’s the biggest thing,” Curry said. “Everyone coming in with a good mindset and trying to work together to be the best team possible. Hopefully, that translates on the preseason and into the regular season.”

“It’s very important,” Curry added on the importance to learn everyone on and off the floor to start the year. “I think in training camp and early season, it’s just as important. It’s getting the reps on the floor and getting to spend time with each other off the floor. That happens a lot on the road. Take advantage of that time on the road being on buses, planes, and going out to eat. We started doing that here in Brooklyn early in the season. Those conversations of getting to know everyone’s goals of the season, how they respond to criticism, and how you can talk to different guys are very important. Like I said, we skipped that step last year. We kinda showed up and played basketball. We really didn’t know each other. Got to take advantage of those days now and try to make up for lost time by being efficient.”