Is this the change the Brooklyn Nets need? Did they make the right choice? Will Phil Jackson coach this team? All questions aside the new year brings in new resolutions. For many it’s a time to lose weight and go to the gym more, or eat better, or work on saving money etc. But for the Nets, it is about a coaching change and to have focus totally on winning.
Well is P.J. Carlesimo the answer the Nets need? After firing Avery Johnson and posting a 5-17 record in December (3-13 in the month of December under Avery Johnson). The Nets have been playing better under P.J. Carlesimo posting a 3-1 record under him so far.
But taking a closer look into the coaching and each of their Net’s impact there are some very notable things. First off: the new, P.J. Carlesimo; then the past Avery Johnson; and finally the dream; Phil Jackson.
P.J. Carlesimo: In his last two seasons as acting head coach P.J. has coached 95 games for two teams; the Golden State Warriors and the Seattle Super Sonics (the now OKC Thunder). In those games he put up a record of 21-74 with a 22% win/lose percentage from 2007 to 2009 a total of 95 games. In his best season as coach he put up a record of 49-33 with the Portland Trial Blazzers in the 1996-1997 season.
Differently in his worst season as a head coach he had a 19-63 record with a 23% win/lose percentage with Golden State in the 1997-98 season. But is he the man for the Nets? Most would say no but there are some good reasons to keep him long term. He has been around the team since December of 2011, he knows the players already and knows what has to get done. P.J. is already familiar with his staff. I also might need to mention he knows the front office and recently had dinner with Mikhail Prokhorov, does this give him the leg up on staying long term? With a 3-1 record so far and some notable wins over the Charlotte Bobcats and just fresh of a solid performance beating the OKC Thunder (best record in the NBA so far at 24-7) he does seem to be challenging his players and has them playing hard.
With games coming up vs. the Wizards and Kings and only playing the Pacers and Hawks (twice) in the next two weeks as there tougher competitors. Can P.J. get a win streak going? One thing is for certain, if he does, it will only build his resume and make the front office want him to stay long term with the Nets.
Avery Johnson: While Avery is a good coach, there is not much to say about his coaching in the Brooklyn/New Jersey days. He seems to be a good man and by his coaching history a fine coach. But to me he just did not seem right in the coach chair for the Nets. As his best season as a coach he posted a 67-15 record an 81% win/lose percentage with Dallas in the 2006-07 season. But as his worse season as coach, it comes in as no surprise the Nets in the 2010-11 season with a 24-58 record only a 29% percent win/lose percentage. Avery was coach for a total of 176 games in Brooklyn/New Jersey while posting a 60-116 record matching a 34% win/lose percentage.
But in his final weeks as Nets coach it seemed he lost his players. They did not seem to connect with him on the court, nor did they seem to listen. But as a coach, its clear you have to take charge. It was a surprise to me that he never challenged Deron Williams or yelled at him (who knows if he did behind close doors) for three point after three he chucked up. But then again he did play Dreon at the 2 spot. I still believe Avery is a good coach just not good with the team he had. Good luck and hope you coach again soon A.J.
Phil Jackson: There is a lot of buzz out there that the Nets front office is soon to go after Phil. If they do land him, it would be like a grand slam in game seven of the World Series. In Phil’s 20 seasons of coaching he has never once coached a losing season. His worst season was in 2005 with the Lakers posting a record of 45-37 matching a 54% win/lose percentage. In my book that is a good season, I would not call the this a worse season. For the best record, I’m sure all you know, it was the 72-10 yes a 87% win/lose percentage in the 1995-96 season with the Chicago Bulls. In that season only, Phil’s team only lost ten times, in that is very amazing, even more amazing, during that season the team only lost by more then 10 points one time.
So if the Nets do get him they will be in good hands. Of those 20 seasons, Phil has only not reach the NBA finals six times and he has 11 rings as coach. If Phil Jackson takes the job, does he know the Nets have a championship team?
In all, things will be very interesting in the coming weeks. Will the Nets have a new coach or will they stay the course with P.J. Carlesimo? Also will another coach lose his job? If so can Avery Johnson land the job? Well one thing is certain, this is the NBA don’t be surprised by anything.
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Written by Michael Smith