The media train wreck that was and is the Brooklyn Nets firing of Avery Johnson continues.
A number of well respected media members have jumped on the story. Sheridan Hoops is also on the case:
The Czar, Mike Fratello, former NBA head coach and current analyst/commentator for Brooklyn Nets games on the YES Network sent out a word of encouragement for interim head coach PJ Carlesimo.
Carlesimo, according to some of the talking heads, may finish out the season as the Nets coach—as you don’t usually see a new coaching regime join a team a third of the way through a season.
You definitely, don’t see elite coaches with complex systems that take time to implement joining teams midseason.
It may be that former head coach Avery Johnson [hard to write that, much less say it, with out hearing his southern twang pronounce it] was unjustly and wrongly fired. He did have a new “star” player in Joe Johnson added to his roster, which hasn’t quite panned out as the Nets had planned. Nevertheless…
Nobody envies Carlesimo.
He inherits an underperforming team that has lost 10 of its last 13 after jumping out to an 11-4 start.
Many would have you believe that All-Star point guard Deron Williams is the problem, pointing to his past in Utah (when future Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan was ousted).
TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal seem to favor that side of the fence.
Thursday night, Barkley was seen on television saying, “He’s got the reputation of getting coaches fired. Whatever happened in Utah, it happened. Whatever happened in Brooklyn, it happened. This is all on Deron Williams right now. It’s time to put up or shut up.”
Shaq seemed to think that the onus of blame may be more on Deron, not for having gotten Johnson fired directly but for not playing well.
“Sometimes before great players point fingers, they should look in the mirror. This is the first time I’ve heard the guy with the ball at all times say that he doesn’t like the offense. My advice is for him to look in the mirror and see if he’s doing enough. … He’s not really playing that well.”
However, whatever anyone may think of the situation, Nets GM Billy King is the guy making the decisions. Regarding Johnson’s release, King said, “We’re in the business of accountability. Players do have to play, but when they’re not, others will be held accountable, too. That’s just the way it is, unfortunately.”
The losses, according to Williams and Joe Johnson (via New York Daily News writer Stefan Bondy), were not their coaches fault.
One thing that could be seen as detrimental to the team [since the acquisition of Joe Johnson] was the Nets use of MarShon Brooks this season under former coach Johnson. Thus far this season, his minutes have been limited (18 less than last year), and he has not been able to play the same brand of basketball that showed so much promise for him last season.
That could change with Carlesimo, as David Aldridge suggests (via Twitter).
One thing that seems to be getting lost in all of this hullabaloo: The season is not over yet.
The Nets are 14-14, with a very winnable game against the Charlotte Bobcats Friday night. They sit in seventh in the Eastern Conference standing—a mere 6.5 games back of the East leading Miami Heat. The playoffs are still quite reachable, and—if the ship is righted—could still make some noise in the post-season.
For as much as people love to throw out the big names (Phil Jackson, Larry Brown, etc.) as potential coaching candidates, [depending on how things go] the job may already be taken.
PJ Carlesimo, now is your time. If not for the Nets job, you are definitely auditioning for a job somewhere.