Earlier this week, the Nets decided that the NBA's Coach of the Month in November was no longer deserving of his job in December. Yes, the Nets skidded to a 14-14 record behind repetitive play calling and questionable lineups in recent weeks, but a few missteps from Avery Johnson shouldn't have cost him his job just past the quarter-mark of the season. The dismissal of Johnson is also a dismissal of the club's 11-4 record in the opening month and quality wins over the Celtics (twice), Knicks, and Clippers.
The Nets' offseason acquisition of Joe Johnson not only raised expectations for the club, it completely changed the dynamic of the team's offense. Johnson is best served by a good dose of isolation sets, allowing him to get a clean look at the basket. Deron Williams voiced his displeasure over the playcalling, but even he publicly admitted (albeit, after the firing) that Johnson's game demanded extra space on the floor.
Johnson is just one player, but it was obvious from the get-go that his addition would drastically alter the look of the offense. We all knew that adding him to the mix meant less pick-and-roll plays, less touches for former staples of the offense (like Kris Humphries), and much more shooting from the outside. The Nets didn't tune the offense to Johnson at the start of the year, and his play suffered. When the rest of the team's play started to dip, the Nets swung the pendulum back towards their sweet-shooting two-guard. One has to think that given some more time, Johnson and his staff would have found the happy medium and found the right mix to get all of the main offensive contributors in sync.
Now the Nets reportedly see Phil Jackson as the answer and, as I outlined on Thursday, this isn't their first flirtation with the Zen Master. Plenty of things have changed for the Nets in the last 13 years – they now have a new home, new color scheme, and, hey, they actually draw a decent crowd. But they shouldn't be surprised when they get the same answer as they did in 1999: No.
If you've had your fill of Nets talk for the week, you're in luck – this week's edition of Hoops Links covers issues from every corner of the Association. If you have a great blog piece that you think we should feature next week, then send it to me at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here's this week's look around the blogosphere..
- The Brooklyn Game reflects on Johnson's tenure with the Nets.
- The True Fan's Sports Blog looks at four trade candidates, including Kevin Love.
- The Basketball Post says its decision time in Utah.
- Pounding The Rock breaks down the Spurs' D.
- Bright Side Of The Sun wonders if Phoenix is a good fit for Richard Hamilton.
- 3 Shades Of Blue talks Grizzlies and references my favorite comedy of all-time.
- Long Distance Jayhawk comes to the aid of Jim Boeheim.
- NBA 24 7 365 appreciates a good windmill.
- Red 94 has a holiday wish list for the Rockets.
- Celtics Life looks at the dynamic between Rajon Rondo and Jason Terry.
- The NBA Geek has a bone to pick with DeMarcus Cousins.
- SLC Dunk has perfect Christmas gift ideas for the Jazz player in your life.
- Hoops Addict discusses the Rockets' strong play as of late.
- Hardwood Paroxysm doesn't think Avery was the problem in Brooklyn.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Zach can be reached here.