Nets hold annual open practice for fans eager for the new season
The ‘Brook-lyn’ chants have started again, which means the NBA is back. Brooklyn Nets fans got a glimpse of the 2014-15 team during its annual Open Practice on Sunday, October 26. For $5, thousands of fans were able to fill up the entire lower bowl of Barclays Center to watch the new squad run various plays and drills. Ticket proceeds from the practice went to the News Foundation
The team’s new head coach Lionel Hollins, who has taken over the reins after Jason Kidd’s abrupt departure this past June, led the team in over an hour of exercising, strategizing and scrimmages. The new coach is known for running longer practice sessions and fans got a taste of that during the event.
“We just wanted to give you a look of what it’s like at practice,” said Hollins as he addressed the crowd. “We usually do go a little longer. We do go a little harder and there’s more five-on-five contact but we went hard the last two days, and I didn’t want to push it. We’ve got a game coming up shortly. I hope you’re entertained getting an inside look at how the team operates.”
The day was all smiles as the event gave players an opportunity to show fans their more jovial side. Since it didn’t include the intensity of a regular season game or typical practice, players such as Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez got the chance to interact with fans in between drills. Newcomers Jarrett Jack and forward Bojan Bogdanovic also got to see what the borough and its fans have to offer.
With the loss of key players such as Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston to free agency, the team’s success this season relies heavily on the health of two of their best players. Williams, who has impressed this pre-season, is coming off ankle surgeries this past off-season. Lopez, who played only 17 games last season due to a fractured foot, missed the last couple of pre-season games due to a mild sprain in that same foot.
Lopez did some light practicing during the scrimmage, encouraging fans and the organization. When asked if he had an update on the center, Hollins joked,” Yeah. He’s a day older.” After a few laughs, he said there was no new news.
After the practice, the professionals made way for 629 fans that lined up on the court to participate in a game of basketball knockout. The event set a new Guinness World Record for the most participants in a game of knockout.
“On behalf of the Brooklyn Nets organization and my teammates, I want to thank you all for coming out today,” said forward Mirza Teletovic.
“We really appreciate you coming out,” added Hollins. “Go Brooklyn.”
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