Nets coach Lionel Hollins dismisses the notion that his team is doomed this season after the departure of Deron Williams and with Jarrett Jack expected to be the starting point guard, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post writes. “I see it, [and] I laugh,” Hollins said. “What do they do? They go in and take each player’s [statistical] numbers, put them in a group and that puts us at the bottom of the NBA. But that’s in the past. Whatever anybody did good last year is still in the past, and whatever anybody did bad last year is still in the past. Now we’re here, and everybody has to go out and obviously you can’t have the same numbers as an individual. You hope they’d be better. But we still have our core guys. … I’m pleased and I’m excited.”
The team was aware prior to cutting ties with Williams that there would be a potential backlash, Bontemps notes. “We did what we set out to do, and that was to try to get some younger players, change our team a little bit, try to get some athleticism,” Hollins continued. “I thought [GM] Billy [King] did a great job. Now it’s up to us to try to work with and develop these individuals.”
Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- The Sixers have offered Arsalan Kazemi the required one-year tender that will allow the franchise to retain his draft rights, according to Kazemi’s Instagram account (hat tip to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando). Kazemi, 24, was the No. 54 overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft.
- Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas‘ two primary goals for the 2015/16 campaign are for the team to make the playoffs and for him to earn an All-Star nod, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. “First off, team goals, we just want to build from what we did last year,” said Thomas. “We made the playoffs, but we definitely weren’t satisfied. We think we have a better team than we had last year and we have a full season together — it’s only going to make us better. My goal for the team is to make the playoffs and just build from there.” As for his personal goals, Thomas added, “When you achieve your team goals, then your individual success comes. But I definitely feel like I can be an All-Star. I’m not just saying that. I honestly feel that way. With hard work and dedication and just taking my craft serious. And, with the opportunity given with the Boston Celtics, I feel like I can reach that goal.“