Avery Johnson won Coach of the Month in November, and he was fired in December. The Paroxysm guys (Jared, Sean, Ananth, Derek, Dylan, and Clint) try to figure out where it all went wrong.
1) In Haiku form, give your reason as to why Avery Johnson was fired (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables).
The Nets from Brooklyn.
Their coach, he was fired because
Deron Williams said so, yo.
Chilling with models
Prokhorov told he owns Nets
Made the call from yacht
Ananth: Not really answering question but here is a haiku made up of an adaptation of Avery Johnson Jr’s tweets (@itsaveryjohnson)
players couldn’t make shots
Didn’t give my dad a full season
a fuxking Outrage
You don’t bench Humphries
He used Brook Lopez’s hair gel
He had a funny voice
We are not winning
Let’s panic panic panic
You are welcome, Deron.
There once was a point guard named Deron
Who got coaches fired like he was Charon
Blamin’ the wrist
Ridin’ river Styx
To an owner who pretends he is carin’.
Wait, that’s not a haiku…
2) Is there any one person who deserves the blame for the Nets’ recent stagnation?
Jared: I’m not sure if he/she is a person, but I blame the BrooklyKnight.
Sean: It was a group effort. DWill is disgruntled and not playing well. Kris Humphries is in the doghouse. Brook Lopez has been hurt. Avery was running a ton of isos and reminding us why we hated IsoJoe in Atlanta. But you can’t fire the players, I guess.
Ananth: Yes, Kris Humphries because he is Kris Humphries.
Derek: Not necessarily just one person, no. You could point to Deron Williams’ shooting, or they’re too thin, evidenced by leaning on guys like Stackhouse, Blatche, and Evans too much. Maybe their core won’t mesh like they thought. No matter what I keep coming back to the fact that they’re .500 just 28 games into the season.
Dylan: No, because assigning particular blame is always a frivolous pursuit. But it seems management was afraid of Avery’s panic-stricken lineup shuffling and largely set-in-his-ways dynamic, so they went with the quick hook. The iso-heavy offense isn’t working, mostly because only Brook Lopez is a true isolation player, and so the team has been left at an offensive impasse. Still, this is a new team with a new dynamic, and they did play well to start the season. That has to count for something, even if it apparently doesn’t.
Clint: Clearly, this is a Kardashian Effect hangover.
Seriously, though, Deron’s wrist still isn’t right, even after surgery; he’s averaging career lows in field goal percentages and a career low assists since becoming a starter. Even if the Utah Jazz’s trade that netted both Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter (from a draft pick acquired) doesn’t pan out, said trade is looking better and better for that fact alone.
3) PJ Carlesimo is the new interim coach. If he weren’t, who would be the best interim coach of the people available? Who’s the best fit of coaches NOT available?
Jared: Stan. Van. Gundy.
Sean: Best coach available for this roster is Jerry Sloan. But the best coach available for the Lakers is Stan Van Gundy, which was about as likely. Actually, wait a minute. SVG would be great in Brooklyn too.
Ananth: I am still not sold on PJ as a head coach; know he has been around the game forever and has been a solid assistant coach everywhere he’s been but his stints as a head coach have never really impressed me. Would have liked to see one of the other assistant coaches, like Mario Elie or Popeye Jones given a chance; see what they can do. As for an interim coach who is not currently with the Nets? Would be great to see Stan Van Gundy work his magic on this team; I am a big fan of SVG but supposedly he has no interest in the job. Ex-Russian Head Coach David Blatt would also be interesting, with the Prokhorov/Russia connection but he is currently the head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv. As always the answer for any open NBA heading coaching job is Phil Jackson because rumors.
Derek: PLEASE, SHAMMGOD. JERRY SLOAN FOR NETS COACH, BECAUSE I LOVE IRONY. For this team I think you would need an experienced coach that players respond to, but that isn’t too overbearing. Not sure who, but we’ve seen how Deron has responded to those types in the past.
Dylan: This guy. As for the second question, this guy.
Clint: I’d still really like to see Mo Cheeks get another shot at head coaching. He’s a guy that might be able to reach Deron on a point guard level as maybe the most underrated point in NBA history. Obviously, Phil Jackson could probably do the most, but he’s not available for a team like the Nets.
4) What’s with Deron Williams and his coaches getting fired? And what’s with Avery Johnson getting fired for micromanaging his point guards?
Jared: That shit cray. Man, I’ve been waiting so long for an opportunity to say that.
Sean: I don’t know, but you know who doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would get two respected coaches fired? Damian Lillard.
Ananth: Still too early to say that it was Deron Williams who got Avery fired. I am sure he was behind it but this is America so innocent until proven guilty. Avery Johnson is known as the “Little General” so micromanaging is in the job description for his nickname.
Derek: I can’t say for sure, but those things may not be unrelated.
Dylan: I would have forced Avery to re-adapt the offense to his personnel – well, person, as in Deron Williams. He’s the player that makes this team (not) go, so it seems like a no-brainer to put him in pick and roll after pick and roll. And while Brook Lopez may be more of a low post player than a picker and a roller, his remarkable touch around the rim coupled with an easier ability to establish deep post position post-roll would benefit both players. Not to mention that if you run P&R’s on Joe Johnson’s side, you force help defenders to make an impossible choice: sink off Joe Johnson and give up a wide open three to one of the league’s best shooters, stop Deron Williams from barreling all the way to the rim, or defend against the Williams-Lopez alley-oop. Okay fine, Lopez layup. Still, he’s good at that.
Also, play Andray Blatche more. He’s really good.
Clint: In reality, this is a case of losing turning into finger pointing. By nature, people want someone to blame when things aren’t going right, and while it may start with Williams not being 100% healthy, the fact of the matter is losing games led to the firing, not Surly Deron.
5) The Nets are a team built on big money, big names, and a gamble. If it were up to you, would you have kept Avery because of everything you invested to make this team what it was? Or would you have also dumped Avery Johnson because of the aforementioned gamble and high stakes?
Jared: Dumped. The Nets are all in on “Deron Williams, Franchise Player” and it doesn’t seem like he wants Avery to coach him. With an $80-million plus payroll and no cap room in sight, this is their team, for better or worse. If the marquee player wants a new coach, you go get a new coach.
Sean: For a team that cares this much about media perception, it’s always better to fire a coach you’re unsure about before the start of a season than two months in. There’s no way to react to this news other than “Nets are pressing the panic button.”
Ananth: The Nets had Star Wars level hype coming into the season and so far have not lived up to it so I would have probably dumped Avery as well. It seemed like the team was just going through the motions and perhaps a new voice could spice things up. Kelly Dwyer, as usual, has a great take on the situation.
Derek: I keep coming back to the fact that it’s just 28 games in, and they were playing well at one point. I don’t believe many thought they’d be Finals contenders, but I can see why the Nets made the move if they had higher expectations, and greater belief in the team’s potential.
Dylan: Say what you want about the Lakers and Mike Brown and not giving him a chance, but he wasn’t the right coach to manage a bunch of superstar personalities. He’s reserved and x’s and o’s and purely basketball, not emotionally basketball. Now the Lakers did mess it up by hiring D’Antoni over Phil, but that’s another conversation. The point is that quick triggers aren’t such a bad thing, always. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but it is broke in Brooklyn, so fix it. Avery Johnson has his way of coaching, his style. Coaches adapt, but they don’t change. His offense will always be partially iso-heavy, and the personnel does not fit that style. Brooklyn is not winning it all this season anyway, so you might as well put the right coaching core in place to build towards a future.
Clint: I would have put Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov in a Thunderdome with majority stake in the team at the top of a 24 foot stepladder with rusty nails sticking out of it and let Spike Lee officiate it with prejudice.
6) If a “shake up” was mandatory, would you have also fired Avery Johnson, or would you have gone another route?
Jared: I would have moved the team to Newark.
Sean: If it was this or trading for Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract, I’ll take firing Avery.
Ananth: The Nets have a solid roster but it wasn’t gelling in the larger sense. If it was a mandatory shake up, firing seems like the only option in this case. Also since the Nets are “shaking” things up:
Derek: I guess if a shake up was mandatory you fire the coach or make a panic trade. Unfortunately for Avery, you can’t fire the players, and it was easier to make a coaching change than try to orchestrate a trade given the contacts and roster.
Dylan: Firing Avery Johnson was the only option because the Nets are financially inflexible and possess very few movable parts. They were squeezed by their own roster-assembling ineptitude, really. Still, I would have fired Avery Johnson because he is not the right coach for this team. The whole iso-heavy thing, as discussed before.
Clint: Johnson was just Coach of the Month in November. It’s like the Coach of the Year curse has been truncated like a lockout season. It’s an instant gratification world we live in these days, with little patience for learning curves. I don’t anticipate much more success for this firing, at least as long as Deron Williams continues to play at a career low level, whether it be untold health reasons or any other.