Badlani: Avery Johnson Made a Poor Lineup Decision

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BROOKLYN – The Nets beat the 76ers 95-92 on Sunday, and Avery Johnson made some desperate changes to his team’s rotation in order to save his job.

After losing the last three games and eight of their previous 10, Johnson decided changes needed to be made. He used the two days of practice after the loss to the Knicks to make those adjustments, notably removing Kris Humphries from the rotation.

By doing so, not only is Johnson already abandoning a system that could have brought him the most long-term success, but he is also in danger of upsetting one of the two players that has been with him throughout the entirety of his tenure as Nets head coach.

This is a recipe for failure, not to mention a waste of a $12 million -a-year player.

“I visited [Humphries] in my office before, and it’s basically a coach’s decision,” Johnson said. “He’s healthy, he’s fine, he’s not in the doghouse, we just needed to try something else.”

Humphries, who re-signed with Brooklyn for two years and $24 million deal before the season, said he was frustrated when Avery Johnson told him, but took it maturely.

“He said he was starting Gerald (Wallace) and it was going to be inconsistent for me for a little while,” Humphries said. “I really didn’t know it was going to be a DNP, but you have to be ready to handle anything in the NBA.”

The Nets boast a roster that can play much bigger than others, allowing them to dominate in the post. Simultaneously, playing bigs slowed the team down and decreased space for Deron Williams, who thrives on driving to the basket, and Joe Johnson, who excels at playing one-on-one with his back-to-the-basket.

“Over 60% of the league is playing this way,” Avery Johnson said as he defended his lineup overhaul. “We’ve had a lot of issues when we looked back at our offense over the first 25 games.

“We wanted to get more space for some of our scorers, we wanted Gerald to ignite our break for us because he’s pretty good at that, and we needed another 3-point shooter and defender in the lineup, so that’s why we went to Bogans.”

Who can blame Johnson for making the change after the results in December? He’s been on the hot seat with the poor showing from his team this month, so must have felt that something drastic needed to be done.

But did Avery Johnson forget that his big rotation went 11-3 to start the season? Did he forget about the impressive wins over the Celtics and the Knicks? Sure, the Nets had lost a bunch, but did he forget that Brook Lopez was out for seven games during that stretch and he’s only recently been at full strength?

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  1. Sitting the dumbest player on the team for extended minutes certainly doesn’t HURT a team. Humphries is redundant on the Nets. Evans is Humphries+. He’s a smarter passer and can finish under the basket.

    • He wasn’t the “dumbest” player when Nets where 11-3 and he started all those games and then Lopez got injured n everything just went south but that’s your opinion…Now we watch and see if this will help them in the long run.

      • The Nets have always won in spite of Humphries. Fans fell in love with one of the few saving graces on a terrible team, fell in love with a “double-double machine” (as fans came to call him), and chose to ignore (or failed to identify) the glaring, fundamental flaws in his game.

        1. He can’t pass the ball in the post. He can’t dish the ball out to the perimeter. He just doesn’t have that ability. He sees so many bodies around him that he panics and just goes back up with the ball. No matter the situation. This has caused the Nets hundreds of possessions. (I hope people recognize the difference between Evans and Hump as Evans is an excellent passer).

        2. He is the worst pick and roll defender in the NBA. The man is slow and clueless. You can survive on pick and roll defense being slow OR clueless, but both is a recipe for disaster. And he has been a disaster.

        3. He has a one-dimensional offensive game. Humphries jumper missing off the iron? SURE! Over and over because that’s all he can do. Ask him to post up? He can’t. Ask him to drive? LOL. How about a simply pivot and bump to draw a foul? Not a chance in hell.

    • I like Evans, but he isn’t better than Hump at finishing under the basket. It was Evans who cost us the Utah game, because he couldn’t finish with a dunk when he get the ball 4 ft. from the basket and noone in front of him. Instead he threw up a brick from 4 ft and time expired.

      • Evans is shooting 8% better than Hump, and 7% better under the basket than Hump.

        Way to isolate one missed shot with time expiring as evidence though. Let’s ignore the pressure of a late game situation, and the fact that he likely had no idea he had more time than he did.

  2. “in the short term, Deron Williams will be happy”

    Its all about DERON at the end of the day smh_they just looking for a scapegoat which is clearly Hump

    And I respect him now for being so classy and mature about it.

  3. It’s hysterical that anyone thought the Nets were going to go deep in the playoffs to begin with.

    There was nothing impressive about the wins over the Knicks and Celtics – the Knicks were short-handed and the Celtics have been terrible this year.

    Williams is a coach killer.

    Wallace and Lopez are injuries waiting to happen.

    Joe Johnson has never came up big when it mattered – unless getting paid a ridiculous amount of money counts as coming up big.

    The Nets suck.

  4. What will save Avery is the new moves he is making – playing Blatche alongside Lopez for key moments in the game – especially the 2nd half of games.

    He will also be playing Toko Shengelia during non garbage times.

    But yes, I agree, starting Hump wasn’t a problem. Nets have started games out fine with Lopez and Hump. I’d rather have a Big Nets team too. Its in the 2nd half of games where the PF position and lack of energy by the whole team, has suffered.

    Playing Blatche additional minutes and throwing in Toko, for a Jump Start, should help.

    • How about…his job was never in danger to begin with? Because that’s the correct answer. This is all media conjecture. The front office has always supported Avery and hasn’t shown any indication it’s wavering from that mentality.

      Let me walk you off the Brooklyn Bridge and come back to reality. It’s 1/3 of the season and the Nets would make the playoffs if the season ended today. And it has a lot to do with Avery’s ability to bring this team together and have them play excellent defense during that 11-3 start.

      This is my problem with Avery Johnson detractors. Where are you when the man makes GOOD decisions? Nowhere to be seen. That’s fair. I’d like it if you just stayed in the same place when the Nets lose a game or two as well.

      • Although his job wasn’t in trouble yet, its good that Avery conceded some issues that players and Billy King probably discussed with him. Now everyone will be on the same page going forward. Maybe DWill gets out of his mental shooting slump now. DWill’s slump was actually as much responsible for losing as any one factor. At least 3 close games. There would be few complaints if Nets were 17-9 right now.

        • His job isn’t* in trouble. I’ll remove the “yet” as well because that’s conjecture, assumptive, and baseless. There’s no indication that his job is in trouble or will be in the future. I will also ignore the “Billy King probably discussed with him” because that’s also conjecture, assumptive, and baseless.

          You’re assuming that everyone wasn’t on the same page to begin with. You’re assuming that D-Will is in a “mental slump.” And you’re assuming that the NY media wouldn’t find something else to complain about.

          I’m choosing to believe the the Nets here. Avery’s job is safe, until they tell us otherwise. D-Will is battling through injuries, until they tell us otherwise.

          Baffling how quick to overreact people are that they ignore the obvious reasons behind the Nets/Nets players struggles in search of some deeper, darker meaning.

      • You are just a Hump hater lol all good he’s still getting his $$$ n he’s gonna make more lol

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