Well, that did not take very long for things to go south in Brooklyn. A month after being named the Coach of the Month, Avery Johnson is now unemployed.
After a pretty hot start, the Brooklyn Nets have gone 3-10 in their last 13 games, which was enough for Johnson to lose his job on a team that is filled with high expectations. Make no mistake about it, this was done because of how high people thought of this team at the beginning of the season and the fact that they had to have an impressive first year at their new home in Brooklyn.
On one hand, I understand this move as I do think Avery Johnson can wear out his welcome pretty quickly and is also not that great of a coach, and I have a hard time understanding what happened to Marshon Brooks after a really impressive rookie year.
But when looking at their roster, there are some serious issues with the makeup of this team. They have an isolation player in Joe Johnson, who is next to a point guard Deron Williams that needs the ball in his hands to have an impact on the game. Then they have two big men who have no idea how to go out and protect the paint by any means in Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. The one area I think this team really excelled at is going out and getting players like Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche, who can come in and find a niche on this team. But, those players only have certain roles and do not have a huge impact on the game.
The one person I would have to blame for most of their recent struggles has to be Deron Williams. He has had some injuries throughout this season, but he seems to have completely lost a step recently. His demeanor has to be worrisome as he mentioned that this system was not a great fit with him as there were not as many pick and roll plays as in Utah. But he does not have Carlos Boozer or Paul Millsap. Instead, he has Lopez and Humphries who are not great pick and roll players. That, added in with the fact that Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace are not great at spacing the floor, is a recipe for disaster when running pick and rolls on this team. It seems like Williams has once again run a coach out-of-town just like he did in Utah with Jerry Sloan. If he wants to be a superstar in this league, he has to take on a good portion of the blame for their recent struggles.
The question now is who can come in and turn this team in the right direction in the middle of the season? This team will not be changing players as the Nets are basically locked in with these players for the near future so whoever it is will have to work with what Avery Johnson could not.
A few names that will always be brought up are either of the Van Gundy’s, although I am not sure Jeff Van Gundy wants to leave his announcing gig. Larry Brown is another name that could be thrown in as well, but I personally would like to see the Nets go after Nate McMillan to lead this team going forward. I always felt that he had a rough ending in Portland where he was succesful for a few seasons. I just think that with the players on this team, he would be able to come in and really help get this offense jump started. Just my two cents, but I am far from a General Manager and my reasoning for firing Avery Johnson would probably solely be placed on not wanting to hear him screech anymore.