After the sudden departure of Jason Kidd, the Nets will be led by new head coach Lionel Hollins this season. Nets players are ready to sweat under Hollins’ blue collar style, and veterans weren’t afraid to throw jabs at Kidd, who didn’t match that style.
"We practiced [under Kidd], but you know… not really," said Joe Johnson.
Hollins recognizes work ethic might be an issue for the Nets.
"When I watched the team from afar last season, being on TV and all, I saw a team that didn’t look as cohesive as it needed to be… And since I’ve been watching preseason workouts with the guys… I see a little bit of the same thing. They play, but there’s another level of intensity they have to have in order to be really successful."
The Knicks are starting the first full season of the Phil Jackson era under new (and handsomely-paid) head coach Derek Fisher. Their biggest news over the summer, though, was the five-year, $124-million re-signing of Carmelo Anthony. On media day, he gave some insight into why he returned to New York.
"I kind of forced my way to New York [in 2011], and I have some unfinished business to take care of," Anthony said. "I wouldn’t have felt right from a personal standpoint, just getting up and leaving."
There’s also buzz around Fisher running the triangle offense, something certain Knicks players feel they’re a good fit for.
"I’m a pass-first point guard, I’m going to try to get everyone involved like I’ve been doing for a while now," said former Raptor Jose Calderon. "I think the system fits me well, I can shoot the ball well and make everybody comfortable out there."
Rajon Rondo has played 68 games combined over the past two seasons, and the Celtics star had no more good news on Celtics Media Day – revealing that he broke his hand in a fall, and after surgery, will be out 6-8 weeks. He addressed this and continuing trade rumours with Boston media.
Despite a lack of roster upgrades, second-year head coach Brad Stevens is looking for improvement, and it starts at the point guard position, Rondo or not.
"We need to have our whole team play with [Rondo’s] kind of freedom. But it has to be led by our point guard, it has to be called by our point guard," said Stevens. "There’s a fine line. You can’t script everything as a coach. This is a game that’s played fast, and the more options you can give on the fly, the better."
Joel Embiid, the 76ers first round draft pick, had an entertaining summer on Twitter, and didn’t disappoint on media day. He refused to smile for any pictures, creating some gems.
On the basketball end, the 76ers are expecting another losing season, and brass are being realistic.
"We’re all competitive, especially me," said Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. "We had lots of long nights and worked our tails off trying to do what we could in this phase [of rebuilding] that we’re in."
There is excitement around the young core of Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams and Joel Embiid. While Embiid is expected to miss most of the season with a broken foot, Noel will be seeing his first NBA action after missing a year due to knee surgery.
"It felt great just to get back on the court, waiting as long as I’ve been," said Noel. "I’m ready. I’ve been excited. I still have some nerves. I really want to just get back to playing."