Tyshawn Taylor walked off the court wearing a black long sleeve crew neck shirt with bold white capital letters that read: DEFEND BROOKLYN.
If Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Jason Kidd accomplished one thing above all else in this intense, physical and competitive training camp it was this: Brooklyn is going to defend the basket this season.
"Most of my camps in Boston have been always about defense,'' said forward Paul Pierce. "You know we really focused on that.''
"When you look at the top tier teams in the league, they're always top of the line defensive teams. When you talk about being NBA champions, getting to the Finals, you have to have a top tier defense and that's going to be the focus for us not only in camp but all year long.''
The Nets were not a top tier defensive team last season, one reason why they won most of the games they were expected to win, but had more difficulty against the elite teams.
Kidd said he had two goals coming into this camp: Remain injury free and work on combinations. He accomplished both of those.
Clearly he had another goal in mind: Defense.
"We focused on defense,'' Kidd acknowledged. "We put in a little offense. We're definitely thinking about defense right now.''
Leading the emphasis on defense, of course, was Kevin Garnett.
Five minutes into the last practice, he asked the first question. Assistant Coach Lawrence Frank had been explaining some defensive principles. Garnett raised a hand and questioned his role in spacing.
It's a good sign when your top player is that committed to the defensive end.
"Kevin's been that way his entire career,'' said Kidd. "He knows how championships are won.''
Championships are won on talent, toughness, execution and experience, all which this team has. It also has depth.
Today was the first time the starting five, albeit without point guard Deron Williams whose been resting an ankle injury that does not threaten his readiness for the start of the season, beat the second five.
"We're able to put a second unit out there that on a lot of teams, [they] would start,'' said Pierce. "It's like you've got two starting units going at one another and a lot of teams don't have that luxury. From that aspect we can't help but get better.''
Kidd said the offense would be put in place. The absence of Williams and the limited amount of work that Jason Terry, who had off-season left knee surgery, was able to do, might have limited how much offense could be implemented.
Regardless, Kidd had an agenda. This team will not be last in the league in transition defense. It will not be soft. There will be a new identity. DEFEND, BROOKLYN.
"We'll teach the offense the same way,'' he said. "Championship teams, they execute down the stretch and throughout the game. So as much we're talking defense, we also have to take care of the ball.''
NOTES: As pleased as Kidd was with camp, he knows preparing for this season is about to get harder. The Nets will be off Sunday, but return to practice Monday. Kidd said, in his experience, that has been the hardest practice.
"Guys fought through the fatigue,'' he said. "We asked a lot of them. We tip our hats to them.''