Nets start 1-2 but starters need time together

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets haven't looked sharp to start the season but the starting lineup still needs time to grow together.

The Brooklyn Nets' "super team" hasn't lived up to their expected championship potential immediately. The team started the season 1-2, picking up a pair of losses against the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers. Is it time to start worrying in Brooklyn?

Head coach Jason Kidd has been tasked with guiding this $102.2 million roster in its first season together. He spoke to the media after the team's loss on Sunday to the Orlando Magic and called it a "process" for the Nets to learn how they can succeed together, via Andy Vasquez of the New Jersey Record:

"They haven't spent enough time together," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "They have to work through this. It's a process for guys to understand where shots are coming from, understanding when it's time to go."

"Everyone [starting] on this team ... has always been the man on [another] team," Kidd said. "So now it's, 'What can I lead in stat wise? If it's not points or assists or rebounds, is it steals? Is it contesting shots? Doing the little things?' And that's the game within the game; they're learning."

Their lone win was against the Miami Heat, who also started the season 1-2. Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez is a stacked starting five on paper, and that's without mentioning Andrei Kirilenko -- a player Mikhail Prokhorov managed to get such a good deal on other owners questioned if there was a conspiracy.

Williams played in a single exhibition game and Kirilenko missed the entire preseason. Brooklyn has been dealing with injuries, keeping the team from playing together.

The starting five has played a total of 30 minutes, is shooting 50 percent together and has a 0.7 +/- differential through three games, according to NBA.com. The Nets have played 43 different lineups already, limiting the time their starters have played together.

Brooklyn is scoring 98.7 points per 100 possessions (21st in the league), per Basketball-Reference. Lopez leads the team in scoring at 18.3 points per game and is shooting a solid 52.5 percent from the field. Pierce is the team's second-leading scorer at 17.3 points per game. Garnett is second on the team in field goal attempts (10 per game) but is shooting 33 percent overall. Williams is also struggling, shooting 36 percent.

Johnson has seen the most drastic shift, though. He's averaging his lowest amount of field goal attempts and points per game in over a decade at 7.7 attempts and 11.3 points.

Pierce and Garnett spent the last six years playing under Doc Rivers with the Boston Celtics and implementing them into Brooklyn's five-man lineups is a challenge. The first year of the Ray Allen, Pierce, Garnett "Big Three" era in Boston opened with eight straight victories and ended with a 4-2 NBA Finals victory though, producing immediate results.

Sailing hasn't started out as smooth for the Nets, but it's too early to draw conclusions about this team. It's clear their collection of veteran talent needs more time to play together before calling it a failed experiment.

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