Badlani: Avery Johnson Made a Poor Lineup Decision

In the long run, this move will swing right back at him. His team had a much better chance to go deep in the playoffs had he stuck with the big men on his roster. Dominance in the post is one of the few advantages his team has over the defending champion Miami Heat and the injury-depleted Knicks, but now he’s simply trying to match their unmatchable speed.

Keith Bogans is not the solution, especially when you consider he’ll be defending the likes of Paul Pierce on Tuesday.

However, in the short term, Deron Williams will be happy. Earlier this week, Williams compared the Nets’ system to the one he played in under Jerry Sloan with the Jazz. “Is it as good as there? No,” he said. “There’s just more one-on-one and isos,” in Johnson’s offense.

Gerald Wallace isn’t bothered by the change either. Power forward won’t be a new position for him since he played the four during his stint in Charlotte.

“Teams like Miami and New York, they’re playing small ball, and it’s giving them more of an opportunity to push the ball,” Wallace said. “It was something that [Johnson] said he wanted to try tonight, and obviously it worked out for us pretty good with Philly playing small ball with Thaddeus Young at the 4.”

Johnson is in the delicate position of trying to juggle how his stars will align correctly. Is he correct about playing a smaller, faster squad? Or is he making one of his final mistakes as Nets head coach?

The guess here is the latter.

Amit Badlani is the producer of SheridanHoops Radio. This is his debut column. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. Chris says

    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.

    • Leah says

      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.

      • Chris says

        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.

    • jerry25 says

      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.

      • Chris says

        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. Leah says

    “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. Dan says

    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. jerry25 says

    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.

    • Chris says

      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.

      • jerry25 says

        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.

        • Chris says

          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.

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