Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 9/6/12

It has been five years since the Nets made the playoffs, but they are in a position to vastly improve heading into the 2012-2013 season. In addition to playing in an exciting new environment in Brooklyn, the Nets managed to bring back their important pieces from last year in Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. They also acquired Joe Johnson in a blockbuster deal with the Hawks.

While almost everyone would be shocked if the Nets can’t improve upon their .333 winning percentage from last season, head coach Avery Johnson did his best to curb expectations earlier this week.

“Deron was a big key to the whole puzzle,” Johnson said according to the Dallas Morning News. “To be able to acquire some other talent through free agency or trades or re-signing some of our own guys, it’s pretty exciting for us. We’re not there yet. We’re not a championship team. We got a lot of work to do. But at the same time, we have a much better talent pool than we’ve had the last two years.

“We’re much more versatile than we’ve ever been. Right now, we look good on paper. Now we got to take it from looking good on paper and apply the work to go (forward).”

Joe Johnson doesn’t instantly take you from bottom-dweller to championship contender. Adding Dwight Howard in addition to the former Hawks star would have helped, but the Nets were unable to pull that off. Personally, I like what Avery’s doing here. We blast coaches for setting expectations too high and calling their teams championship ready, so we can’t fault him for this. Between a new city and a new venue that Mikhail Prokhorov says he will make a surprise appearance at, the Nets don’t need their head coach building any additional anticipation for the upcoming season.

Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie

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