If you followed the NBA at all this offseason, you know these Brooklyn Nets aren’t like last year’s model. Somewhere in Boston a bell tolled for the veteran trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, and the addition of those three big names has transformed the face of the borough’s second-year franchise.
But the more things change, the greater the emphasis on the things that stay the same. For Brooklyn’s Backcourt, the peripheral personnel is almost entirely new, but the core — the star duo of point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson — remains in place.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from Brooklyn’s all-important Backcourt this season:
Deron Williams: Our main man couldn’t find his touch during the first half of last season, then got platelet-rich plasma injected into his ankles and started playing like an All-Star again. Will he hit the ground running this time or will the trainers at Barclays need to come equipped with syringes of plasma?
Joe Johnson: Iso Joe will never live up to his contract, but he should be better than last year. His one-on-one style can slow things down, but he proved time and again that he’s the man the Nets want with the ball at the end of the game. The Bostononians will keep Johnson from having to be a team leader — he’s never seemed to embrace that role anyway — and let him focus on sharpening his game in an evolving offense.
Paul Pierce: Like Joe, The Truth tends to spend a lot of time with the ball when he gets it, and in Boston he was the last-shot guy. But here in Brooklyn there are only so many shots to go around. How Pierce fits in will be one of the more interesting storylines this year.
Jason Terry: The aging Jet disappointed in his only season in Boston, but he could be key to Brooklyn’s success. He’s still an elite shooter, and his ability to spot up would provide much-desired efficiency.
Shaun Livingston: A sneaky pickup by the Nets to serve as D-Will’s backup, the 6-foot-7 journeyman has unique length for a point guard and has already impressed in preseason.
Tyshawn Taylor: Like many young players, the Kansas phenom chronicled his rookie season on Twitter last year, and his struggle to adjust to life on the bench led to some particularly despondent posts. But he has shown flashes of exciting athleticism and on Oct. 26 sent out an encouraging tweet: “Sometime the only pep talk you need … is one from yourself.”
Alan Anderson: Anderson has been bouncing around for years, but can still be a threat when hot. He dropped 35 points — including six threes — on the Knicks with Toronto last season. Brooklyn will take any spark he can provide off the bench.
Matt Spolar is a nearly 6-foot-1 journalist with a middling high school basketball career who is sure the Nets win thanks to team’s top-tier guards.