Much to the Nets' chagrin, they will have to show up and play their games this season.
They missed the memo Wednesday night, falling 98-94 to the far less ballyhooed Cleveland Cavaliers in the season opener.
Deron Williams played limited minutes in his return from an offseason ankle injury as Joe Prunty served as head coach in Jason Kidd's stead. Kidd served the first of his two-game suspension dating back to a DUI arrest.
The Nets' struggles come as no surprise seeing as how sparingly the staff used their starters during the preseason. Williams, who entered the game on a minutes restriction, failed to factor into crunch time.
The loss comes on the heels of a triumphant offseason in which the Nets puffed out their chests and told anyone willing to listen that they had arrived. While all the hype created a buzz around a team generally bereft of one, it did not mask the fact that they must compete on a nightly basis.
The Nets did not create any question marks against the Cavs, they just reaffirmed old ones. The Nets staff held Williams out of the fourth quarter in order to adhere to a minutes restriction on his way back from injury. But the fact remains that Williams has played injured since his first day with the franchise. At no point has the star guard been healthy.
And while the Nets will always point to the playoffs and their championship aspirations, who's to say they will head into their second season healthy.
This game should have marked the healthiest Nets roster one could assemble. To the contrary, Andrei Kirilenko missed the game due to a back injury and Williams never factored in the outcome.
What will the team look like at the midway point? Or the end of the regular season?
The team need look no further than its head coach. Kidd opened up the 2012-13 season with a hot hand for the New York Knicks. By the time his playoff run ended, Kidd could not make a shot from anywhere. He ran out of steam.
The Nets' steam will be interesting to monitor throughout the season.
The Nets undoubtedly have the talent to dominate any given game, but just how often will the injury bug rear its ugly head?