The Brooklyn Nets are exceeding expectations early in the 2023-24 season. Despite a slew of injuries and the NBA's 11th-most difficult schedule, the new-look squad has posted an 11-9 record and holds the league's seventh-best offensive rating.
After the blockbuster trades of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving upended the team at last year's deadline, general manager Sean Marks rounded out Brooklyn's roster with minimum signings this offseason. Several Nets players have attributed the team's early success to a new mantra coined by head coach Jacque Vaughn.
“We've got a saying: radical truth,” third-year center Day'Ron Sharpe said. “Everybody’s just buying into that. We just be honest with each other, nobody’s taking offense… That's been the message since Day 1 of training camp from JV. It's the first thing he wrote on the board: radical truth, radical transparency.
“We're not holding things back from each other. We're all trying to get better, we all want to win, we all want to be great. So we're all trying to buy into that.”
Just five of the Nets' 18 players were on Brooklyn's roster at the start of last season. Vaughn said the team's additions quickly embraced the new mantra as they attempted to build chemistry early in training camp.
“Company secrets getting out, I guess,” Vaughn joked. “My approach with these guys was really based around that from the beginning of the year. I've been fortunate enough to be around a lot of teams and around a lot of coaches, and some things don't get said and that's just the nature of the business we're in. And I really wanted to try to establish an environment where you could speak the truth and be transparent with each other.
“Our group has really wrapped our heads around that, and really grown into being truthful and transparent with each other. You saw it multiple times in the Atlanta game, whether it was Royce [O'Neale] talking to someone about multiple efforts, whether it was Mikal [Bridges] talking to someone about getting organized, whether it was the communication of watching a clip in a huddle. It's just been a great space for us. It is radical as far as what you typically see in the NBA, but I thought with this group, we could lean into that and it would really make us better.”
Jacque Vaughn on Brooklyn's "radical truth" mantra:
"I wanted to establish an environment where you can speak the truth and be transparent… It is radical as far as what you typically see in the NBA, but I thought this group could lean into that and it would make us better." https://t.co/aNQ8qovpmF pic.twitter.com/qK5Uu36U45
— Erik Slater (@erikslater_) December 8, 2023
The Nets have won five of their last six games entering Friday's matchup with the Washington Wizards. Vaughn's squad will look to pick up their third-straight victory Friday before a five-game West Coast swing with stops in Sacramento, Phoenix, Denver, Golden State and Utah.