The Brooklyn Nets fell far short of their goal of an NBA championship last season and this year, especially without Paul Pierce, it’s going to be even tougher. That’s where Brook Lopez and Deron Williams come in. If the two players, one who missed most of last season and the other who was hardly healthy at any point during the year, can stay healthy that will go a long way to making progress toward glory this season.
It might not even be possible for the Nets to win a championship this year. The San Antonio Spurs are going to find a way to be truly elite and the Cleveland Cavaliers got LeBron James back and appear poised to land Kevin Love. Even the Chicago Bulls look much improved. But without a completely healthy Lopez and Williams, the Nets don’t even stand a chance.
Which is why it’s great news to hear that both Lopez and D-Will are healthy and starting to workout in preparation for this upcoming season.
“You can’t be where you want to be unless you’re healthy, and you can’t get in shape unless you’re healthy,” Nets head coach Lionel Hollins told Rod Boone of Newsday. “If you are injured all summer, there’s no way you can work out. Deron is healthy, Brook is healthy and they are both able to work out.”
Neither player is doing much right now besides just getting into better shape. That’s no easy task considering Lopez hasn’t played since December and D-Will had bone spurs surgically removed from his ankle in May. The Nets will also start training camp nearly a week early, on Sept. 26, due to their preseason trip to China so at this point we are a full seven weeks away.
It’s impossible to say whether either player will have lingering effects from their respective surgeries (this is Lopez’s fourth foot surgery). That’s going to be a constant problem for Hollins all season long. He needs to rely on those two, but he’s also going to have to closely manage both of their minutes. Can either play 36 minutes a night anymore? It seems unlikely.