Brooklyn Nets quotebook: Welcome, Freshmen
Only eight of the 22 players who stepped on the hardwood in the black-and-white last season are still with the organization, and one of those, DeMarre Carroll, is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle Tuesday.
So, there will be a lot of minutes picked up by Nets neophytes this season, and it's important to try to build some new team chemistry as quickly as possible. With that in mind, we asked a lot of the veteran Nets about their new teammates during training camp, and it leads to this edition of Nets Quotebook, which we'll call "Welcome, Freshmen."
On the veteran leadership of Jared Dudley and Ed Davis: "As a young guy, it means everything to have guys like them. You have older guys that have been through the whole experience, and then now it's time for them to pass their information onto us. So it's nice that we have people like that to learn from."
On all the additions this offseason: "I think (GM) Sean Marks and (head coach) Kenny Atkinson did a great job adding to the soup. They didn't really take a lot away, but adding guys like Ed Davis, or Shabazz (Napier) or Treveon (Graham) -- I think all of those guys are really going to help us a lot."
On Jared Dudley, specifically: "It's good, man. When we go through those hardships and those tough times in the season, we have another voice, another veteran leader who can actually pull the guys to the side and help them, talk to them and kind of help them grow. Tough times always come, so I think just adding him as another voice is great, and I'm happy Sean and Kenny brought him in."
On Damian Lillard's displeasure with Napier and Ed Davis leaving Portland: "It shows what those guys brought to the team. Sometimes, from afar, you really can't see what guys like that do, and I feel like Ed is one of those guys. You see what he does in practice, but it goes unnoticed in the game; you only look at guys who are scoring the ball and dunking, but he's doing all the little things, getting extra rebounds or getting an extra possession. I think that's what Damian was talking about."
On Davis and Napier, former teammates in Portland: "Two guys who love to compete, and take this job seriously. Ed is going to bang inside with the big guys, block shots for us, set screens, get rebounds; he'll also get the drop-offs and dunks, and play with high energy. Shabazz, he's very vocal, and he's shown that he can score the ball and run the show as a point guard. Just two guys who really approach the game the right way, and I feel like they're going to not only fit this culture, but add to what we're building over here. The front office has done a great job of identifying guys who aren't just good basketball players, but are also good guys in general who can relate to their teammates, and I feel like we got a win in picking up those two this off-season."
On Davis: "He's a great guy who plays extremely hard and does all the dirty work; he rebounds, plays defense and obviously he's going to score for us, too, on pick-and-rolls and things like that."
On Dudley: "He's a real vet, been around a lot. In a lot of ways, even with a lot of 'veteran guys' in the locker room these last couple years, we're still young guys trying to find our way, myself included. JD's been with a lot of teams and seen a lot, he's got a lot of experience and is extremely smart guy. I think he's going to be able to guide a lot of our players, rookies all the way up to fifth-year guys."
On Davis: "I mean, obviously, Ed is an unbelievable teammate; you hear that around the NBA, and then you see it, you know when he decides to go elsewhere. Guys in Portland were upset that he was gone, and you can see just in the small amount of time that we've spent with Ed that he's a genuinely good person and a good guy to have around. He's authentic, he understands the inside-out and he's been around the NBA for a while, and he's great with all the young players on our team."
More on Davis, in what he brings on the court: "He knows what he's good at, and he's exceptionally good at it. Rolling to the rim, defending, rebounding and then all the intangibles that you talk about. People just love being around him; he plays hard all the time and he's a good leader that brings out the most in other people. I've really enjoyed having him around and getting to know him."
On Davis: "Ed's going to be a really key piece for us. I saw Damian (Lillard) in Vegas for Summer League, and that was the first thing he said: 'Man, you guys got my guy Ed, that's a real gamer right there.' I think for myself, as a young guy, I didn't really realize how valuable he was until I was playing with and against him every day. He sets really great screens, rolls to the basket and he's a low maintenance, huge teammate guy. I can't wait to get out there in real games with him."