Nets Talk Championship On Day 1

BROOKLYN – When Mikhail Prokhorov bought the New Jersey Nets in 2010, he famously said that his team would win a championship within five years.

Now in Brooklyn, the Nets finally have a roster that at least moves in the right direction. And their coach and players aren’t in the least bit afraid to use the “c” word.

“Where we are now, the goal is to win a championship,” coach Avery Johnson said during media day Monday at Barclays Center. “At the end of the day, that’s what we all play for. I couldn’t say that about the team the last two years, because we weren’t there on any level.”

They’re a lot closer now, and they have a strong starting lineup from top to bottom. But are they on the level of the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Lakers?

“We’re not a championship team today,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, we’ll be one as we move on in training camp and get on into the regular season, and as we move into the playoffs. But the goal is to win a championship this year.”

This year. Really.

Players sometimes avoid such lofty goals, but new Net Joe Johnson was right there with his coach.

“I think we’ve got everything that you could possibly want on a championship-caliber team,” Joe said. “So now we just have to come together as one and just make it happen. The sky’s the limit for us, honestly.”

But Joe, do you know the Heat, Thunder and Lakers are really good?

“You’ve got to go through those teams to win, right?” he said. “I’m not sugarcoating nothing. We understand right now that Miami’s the favorites. And nobody’s picking us to win anything. We understand that, but I think hard work is going to definitely pay off. We’ve got guys that have really been working.

Coach Johnson knows what it’s going to take. Defense will be priority No. 1 in training camp, with the goal of being in the top 10 on that end of the floor, a long way from where they ranked (29th) last season.

“We must make a major step defensively,” the coach said. “We’ve got to be in the top 10.”

So the players have a training camp handbook, with Avery Johnson’s defensive principles spelled out clearly. And during camp, they’ll have four written tests on those principles.

“We have specific goals,” Johnson said. “It’s written out. They all have it in front of them.”

Top 10 is a lofty goal considering the lack of impact defenders on the roster. But it’s a goal that must be achieved if the Nets really want to talk championship.

“I think we’ve got the chance to win the whole thing this year,” Joe Johnson said. “I’m not just saying that. I honestly believe it.”

56 Comments

  1. kebs08 says:

    NETS will be a playoff caliber team but will not win championship yet.. miami took 2 years to do that… and add pieces to get a ring

  2. renz_garnett says:

    MAYBE CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS BERTH NOT A CHAMPIONSHIP..

  3. matt says:

    oh and the Knicks and Bulls too.

  4. matt says:

    The sixers, pacers and celtics are all stronger then the the nets, let alone the heat. theres not going to be any finals or even conference finals in brooklyn this year.

  5. BArad says:

    if Melo will battle against the heat, they wont win.but if its knicks vs. heat….ITS A WAR!!!!

  6. Young Tip says:

    I’m a die hard Nets fan 100 % since Derrick Coleman but I’m sorry the Nets don’t have the roster yet to win a championship. Joe Johnson is not known for his defense…neither is anyone else on the roster besides Gerald Wallace, who is getting older. Oh, and Brook Lopez is soft. Until he averages at least 15-12-and 2 blocks per game the Nets will go nowhere. Dwight was our only hope of championship talks this season. #letsgonets

  7. iownuwfs says:

    was ment to say the lakers battle there way through the clippers etc the heat will be waiting for them

  8. iownuwfs says:

    just saying if by some miracle the heat manage to battle there way through th clippers no doubt that will be a war an even spurs and mavs they still have OKC to fear – younger, faster then if they manage to fight there way through OKC heat will be waiting they will be fresh they will probably sweep there oposition through the finals-

    East teams aint as strong as west agreed but that just means that the heat will be fresh and waiting for whoever they have to face come NBA finals

  9. iownuwfs says:

    the Heat To repeat !!!! I dont get the hype with the lakers Howard is the youngest in that starting 5 with others all well past there prime age !!!!! They are still slow and got even slower with nash @ point Tell me how will they compete against the super quick teams of OKC , Clippers who will just out run and out athlete the lakers – only chance lakers have for winning is bringing everone down to a half court style of game and slow it down giving them a chance to actually utilise there bigs – BUT i struggle to see how they will make it past OKC right now this league is KD and LBJs league the Kobe era is twindling and nashs 2 cents prob wont count for much as westbrook will prob run rings around him forcing nash to paly at a pace that he is not comfortable with likewise with the other teams meaning the lakers will be running alot more which means & there ages makes them all more likely to get injured -

  10. lbj2012 says:

    heat will become back to back champs

    • lbj2012 says:

      and another thing this will be the hardest match up for any nba team with the following d.wade,ray allen,lbj,chris bosh,joel anothany think about it and then mix it in with r.lewis there you go with that

  11. from mongolia says:

    nice interview. good luck joy. wish the best

  12. Not a lakers fan says:

    You are going to see OIL CANS on the floor near nash and kobe, end of story.

  13. joker5 says:

    HAHA Lopez is injury prone?? Lopez never missed a game until last season. saverio, just by you saying makes me wonder if you even watch basketball. These players are good from top to bottom. Teletovic is a monster, he will be our sleeper, then you forget MarShon Brooks. We have a deep team, but none of you have the intelligence to figure that out.

  14. outsid3 says:

    And i also waiting for Lebron this season to dance stupid gangdam dance…you ll see!

  15. JamesPotter says:

    Heat
    Celtics
    Knicks
    Nets
    Pacers
    Magic

    vs

    LAL
    LAC
    Spurs
    OKC
    Grizz

    • Rob the Blob says:

      Why are the Magic in there? They will be bottom 4 not top 6.

      Agreed on all the others but add the Bulls or Philly to the mix

  16. outsid3 says:

    And Nicks? They will eat all on the east! Russian brooklyn for breakfast, oldies-goldies boston for lunch and miami the money chickens for dinner.

  17. Peter says:

    this is funny, I believe Nets will def be a team to worry about…but as everyone else with any sense in their head says, CHEMISTRY is what its about. Lakers have that same thing to worry about. Just cuz Shaq and Kobe made it happen, doesnt mean that the new Lakers will…idk, its gonna be a nasty season from what it looks like, but i still believe that Miami will ReHeat :) GO MIAMI. And i do hope that everyone stays healthy from ALL teams, i dont want any excuses, and IF the Lakers do find that formula that works, i hope its actually Lakers vs Heat in the finals, just to see what Lebron does with Finals vs Kobe…But still, Heat all the way. I do hope Nets get it together this year tho, will make it for some EXTRA games on the East Coast TV schedule haha.

  18. BIll says:

    Hmm… why not? The teem is quite decent, in my opinion, OK, maybe not for the finals but they should be tough teem to deal with. ECF are in thair extent,

  19. chrisso says:

    knick will win.

    • Lee says:

      Dont get your hopes up.

      • MHM 35 says:

        Oh Knicks fans… if only your stars could play defense. Denver fans were thanking NY for taking Melo off their hands by the time his last season there came around. And Amar’e is a beast on O but a feather on D. Jason Kidd is an upgrade but not the piece that’ll put your Knicks in the Finals. If you can’t play defense you may not even make it into the playoffs. You can thank Jeremy Lin for last years playoff run. His stretch of superhuman games saved your team from sitting at home.

  20. weed says:

    MIRZAAAAAAAA TELETOCICCCCCCCC JEBI IM KEVU U PICKU AMERICKU KOMERCIJALNU

  21. DS_2012 says:

    I really don´t understand the hype around the Nets. They are the same team as last season with the only addition of Joe Johnson, who is not a superstar. They don´t have good bench players either, so Nets fans should be happy if they get into the playoffs. Heat, Celtics, Pacers, Bulls, and even Knicks are much better.

  22. NJ Nets says:

    D-Will needs to come to grips with the fact that he has white person hair. Stop trying to fake the buzzed head look straight across the forehead… we can tell.

  23. saverio says:

    I don’t see that happens. Come on, let’s brake the nets roster. Sure it is very good, but the talent just not there. D Will is their best player, sure the major pressure his on him and i think he can deliver as expected. but other than that? Johnson is a great and stylish scoring guard, who prove during his career that he is not able to win or carry the load or whatsoever. wallace ia a meh player, good enough to make the cut but he is over paid and not decisive at all. Humpries? The guy can rack up double doubles but nothing that can make your team a contender. Lopez? He is talented offensively but injury prone, not much of a scary defender and he can’t pull down boards. If the C’s are aging well, the nets cannot even beat them Remember, the C’S was the better team in the league last year other than Miami.

  24. Streets03 says:

    The Nets don’t stand a chance in the East let alone the finals…first of all you’d have to be high or braindead to think they could possibly beat the Heat in a 7 game series…hell I don’t think they could beat Boston or the Pacers for that matter…fact is defense wins championships and the Nets were the worst defensive team in the L last year behind Avery Johnson and now they bring in more offensive firepower and think that will help them improve on defense? Sorry Nets fans but you are at least another couple years from competing against the elite teams like Miami and OKC!

  25. ... says:

    none of these guys hav ever seen the conference finals n they r talkin bout finals smh….

  26. HeatKingsOfEast says:

    i see avery being fired at the end of the season just like in dallas

  27. W/E says:

    the nets are gunna “disappoint” and thats cause their “stars” are not stars really….this team has no chance against other teams with true elite players,they might do ok in the east cause is sooo weak but if u throw em in the western conference they wont even make the playoffs

    • DREW says:

      D-Will is a star…. and that is about it so I agree with you they have a few low level allstars in Joe, Wallace and Lopez

  28. TwoUp says:

    Championship? ECF?

    In the words of the Nets minority owner, pardon me I had to laugh at that.

    Are all three of you high & stupid? Never in my life have I read comments on a team that missed the playoffs 5 years in a row, rank at the bottom of the league in defense & have the worst record in NBA history make it to the damn ECF in a one year revamp.

    Went from Dwight is coming to Brooklyn!!!!!

    To Joe Johnson & Deron will lead us!!!

    Nets fans make Lakers fans seem like scholars.

  29. Nosleeptillbrooklyn says:

    If we don’t get any major injuries too any of the main players, I’d like to think we could win a championship, but at best I honestly think we can get too the ECF #HELLOBROOKLYN

  30. J Kidding says:

    I can see an Eastern Conf final between Brooklyn and Miami, maybe, but even though, they’d have the Celtics and Pacers to worry about. It all depends how far D Will takes this team.

    • yea, East conf finals will be miami vs nets…and the nets will go to the NBA finals to lose to the lakers

      • DREW says:

        I wish the lakers could play the nets in the finals talk about a 4 game sweep… That is not going to happen though Miami with Lebron will be in the finals again I can’t see them loesing to anybody in the east yet (we will see how the season plays out) But I do agree Lakers win in 6!

      • damnheatchampsagain2012-2013 says:

        lakers… lakers…. lakers…. biased….

      • The Hype says:

        The Lakers will lose to Portland in the first round of the playoffs… no matter what the injury prone, old and slow lakers will not be champions until Kobe retires…

      • The Hype says:

        Correction: will not be champions again until Kobe retires….

      • MHM 35 says:

        WHAT?????????????? Lakers losing to Portland??? The team no one has heard of for at least a year? Not unless the Lakers spend the night before that matchup drinking till they can’t stand?

        Oh and btw… I’m not counting on the Nets making it to the Finals in their first year of being a playoff ready team… The Clips were said to go to the Finals by some until Billups went down and everything crashed from there. Heat, C’s, and Pacers are the teams I’m gonna watch. But the Nets are a LOT better.

        Miami will be in the Finals most likely in my opinion. No Heat fan, just being realistic. The team that was set to win only one or two championships as constructed just got better. I think they may repeat. Unless OKC has something to say about it. Disregarding the blocks of team chemistry and injuries, Lakers may be in the Finals too. I can’t picture the Mavs going back (though they are pretty good), and I certainly don’t see the Spurs returning.

      • Peter says:

        This team first needs to:
        1. Learn to play defense
        2. Learn to play together
        3. Actually have someone on the roster who has played in an NBA finals game

        If you look at the competing teams right now you have:
        – Miami (just won a title)
        – OKC (just played in the finals)
        – Lakers (Kobe, Gasol, MWP have rings and Howard has played in the finals)
        – Celtics (Rondo, Pierce, KG, Terry have rings and Lee has played in the finals)

        Right now the guy in NJ with the most Playoff experience is Joe Johnson, and I don’t think he’s ever been past the second round.

    • Lola says:

      You are KIDDING, aren’t you? Even with this revamped roster (and especially with it), I just don’t see the Brooklyn Nets beating the Celtics and the Bulls. Chemistry does count for a lot and its too early to tell how things will play out in Brooklyn.