DeMarre Carroll is new to the Brooklyn Nets this year, but a lot of things remind him of his past experience with the Atlanta Hawks. Carroll sees a young group in Brooklyn with no egos, higher character and a sole focus on the team. That was exactly the blueprint that turned a 38-win Hawks team into a 60-win team in 2014. Brooklyn’s head coach, Kenny Atkinson, was an assistant on those Atlanta teams, and that’s why Carroll believes the Nets have a chance to be just as good as the Hawks were.

“This team can be that Atlanta team,” Carroll said in a recent sit-down interview with CBS Local. “We want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season. I feel like if we’re playing our best basketball at the end of the year, who says we can’t make the playoffs and exceed expectations?”

The 31-year-old is one of the leaders of this year’s team in Brooklyn. Carroll’s road to New York has featured tenures with six teams, a $60 million contract and an issue with his liver. The Alabama native’s NBA career was in question prior to the 2009 NBA Draft when he was diagnosed with liver disease.

“The toughest challenge was understanding all of the bad things I was putting in my body and cutting all of that out. I grew, and now I’m the healthiest I’ve been.”

Draft night was one of the best nights of Carroll’s life given the adversity he faced. He is averaging 13.3 points and a team-high 7.2 per rebounds per game. Brooklyn is 11-15 so far this season.

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