We already know Jason Kidd won't be coaching Brooklyn, as he'll be serving a two-game suspension connected to a guilty plea to a DWI back in July 2012, but there are a handful of things we should be watching when Brooklyn begins its title hopes Wednesday night.
Here are three things to watch when Brooklyn travels to Cleveland:
Brook Lopez's Start
Seven-foot center Brook Lopez broke out for Brooklyn in a big way last season, averaging 19.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game along with 2.1 blocks per contest. Lopez gets it done on both ends of the floor and is arguably the most crucial member of the Nets' roster.
Now, it's no secret that I'm high on Lopez, especially this season. I even went as far as to say he could be an MVP candidate this season. Admittedly, I may have took that a little far, but the bottom line is that Lopez should be poised for another monster season, especially with all of the talent around him.
Against Anderson Varejao, I'm looking for Lopez to be a stud against the Cavs on Wednesday night. While Varejao mirrors Lopez in height, the Brazilian's defensive prowess is lacking, which will open up a huge opportunity for Brooklyn to take advantage of.
The Nets' center will be a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses this season, including Cleveland, which will have to defend against both the post and the mid-range jumper. Oh, and watch for that pick-and-roll game with Deron Williams, too.
Premier Point Guard Matchup
A healthy Deron Williams is just what Brooklyn needs and it'll get it on Wednesday night, as ESPN New York's Mike Mazzeo reports that D-Will will start for the Nets in the season opener after suffering a sprained ankle and bone bruise during the offseason.
Williams will be opposed by 2012 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, who made his first All-Star appearance last season and is one of the most electric players to watch in the NBA.
This is truly a premier point guard matchup, as Irving is one of the NBA's best up-and-coming PGs while Williams -- when healthy -- is easily a top-seven point guard in the league.
Expect these two competitors to go back and forth Wednesday night. Irving went for 34 points and eight assists in a 114-104 loss to Brooklyn last season on Nov. 13, while Williams went for 26 points and 10 dimes in that same game.
This will be special.
Performance of New Additions
Everyone's aware of the big acquisitions the Nets made this offseason -- most notably acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics -- but now we need to see it pay off.
We saw a glimpse of what Pierce and KG can add to this team during the preseason, but we've yet to see Brooklyn at full strength, which should be dangerous in the Eastern Conference.
Garnett and Pierce are no spring chickens, but there's a lot of value left in the two, as each averaged at least 14.8 points per game in at least 29.7 minutes per contest last season.
With additional weapons like Lopez, Williams and Joe Johnson added to the arsenal, KG and Pierce don't have to play as prominent a role as they needed to in Boston, which should be trouble for the remainder of the East.
Pete Schauer is a native of the Jersey Shore where he covers the Brooklyn Nets, New York Giants and New York Yankees as a Yahoo Sports contributor. You can follow him on Twitter @Pete_Schauer and find him on Google+.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brooklyn Nets
- Brook Lopez
- Deron Williams