Kevin Durant likes ‘vibe’ around Nets but it comes with a caveat

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In the preseason, the results don’t mean as much as the work. But after Kevin Durant requested a trade this summer and then tried to get general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash fired, the Nets’ chemistry is going be under the microscope.

Or more like the James Webb telescope.

Their 0-2 preseason mark entering Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee isn’t a big deal, but take this Durant quote and store it away if their struggles stretch into the regular season when the wins and losses start to count.

“Vibes have been straight. But who knows what the vibes will be if we hit a skid, or we’re not playing well or somebody gets injured,” Durant said. “I think that’s what makes a team: How we stick through those times. It’s easy to be cool when everything is positive right now, but we’ll see as the season goes on.”

Marks shrugged off the exit request followed by the insurrection, but he concurred that their true measure will be how they manage the inevitable tough moments and painful losses this season.

“Personally I don’t think [another trade request] is something we should be concerned about now. It’s about how we manage this on a daily, minute-by-minute basis,” Marks said. “Do we communicate in practice? Kevin doesn’t want to be surprised, either; and neither do we.

“He knows there’s going to be ups and downs. But how do we combat that? Whether it’s that anxiety or the ups and downs, as a collective unit how we manage those? Hopefully there won’t be surprises on the KD front, our front, any of it.”

The Nets have been turnover prone and lacking physicality this preseason, with Friday’s finale in Minnesota as the final tuneup.

Still, records at this point mean little, and Durant said he wasn’t putting much stock in the tilt against the Bucks. He wasn’t losing sight of the fact it was just about trying to build toward when the games really start to count.

“We want to win every possession and we don’t want to look bad,” Durant said. “But there’s going to come a time when we’re not playing great basketball for a spurt [and] there’s going to be times we played great basketball.

“It’s still early in the year. We want to be in great shape as the season goes on, but we want to be our best version as the season starts progressing. We want to take our time now and keep working, but have some sense of urgency as well.”

The Nets haven’t played great basketball this preseason, getting muscled around by more physical teams and not playing hard enough for long enough. They lost to the Heat and 76ers before facing the Bucks, all the top Eastern contenders.

“Everyone has a good team on paper. A lot of good teams, a lot of talent in the East. But once the games are being played, that’s when you’ll declare who the best team is,” Durant said. “Obviously the first third of the season you’ll start to figure it out. Everybody feels great about their team about this time.”

Brooklyn may not even need to wait for a third of the season, a quarter of the schedule may be telling.

Through their first 20 regular-season games, the Nets will play 12 times on the road — the most in the East and second-most in the league. Their five back-to-backs are second behind only the Pistons, and they’ll face 11 games against teams that made the playoffs. That doesn’t even include the Clippers and Lakers.

“The biggest proof is, to me, how the guys come out here and play, how they perform,” Marks said. “Three weeks into the season, a month into the season, three months into the season, you’ll get a sense of this is the identity of the Nets. This is who we are, this is how we play. Is there a collective unity for the whole group? That’s what we hope.”