Quantcast

Nets PR staff reminds you the team is undefeated when outscoring opponents

The Brooklyn Nets public relations staff’s Twitter account knocked it out of the park with this dynamite nugget they dropped following the team’s 113-111 overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday:

Public relations staffs for sports teams are tasked with keeping track of statistics that make the team look good, and their hope is that the media and fans will pick up on it. For instance, the Nets PR team tweeted nuggets about the team’s bench, overtime winning streak, and hot 3-point shooting. But some clever fox decided to remind you of the most obvious fact of all time. Slow clap for the Nets’ PR department for that one.

H/T Deadspin

LeBron James: Nets were not playing hard for Avery Johnson

On the surface, it would appear that firing Avery Johnson was exactly what the Brooklyn Nets needed. The former coach was let go at the end of December, and the team has gone 13-4 since interim head coach PJ Carlesimo took over. However, LeBron James feels that the improvement has more to do with effort than it does coaching style.

“They’re playing like they want to play for their coach,” LeBron said on Wednesday before the Miami Heat beat the Nets in Brooklyn, via the NY Post. “It sucks that Avery [Johnson] had to take the hit of them not wanting to play at a high level, but that’s how it looks to me. They haven’t changed their offense, they haven’t changed their defense. They’ve just picked up the intensity level, and you can tell they like to play for P.J. [Carlesimo].”

That may be so. Deron Williams averaged nearly two more assists and two more points in the month of January, after previously admitting that he was struggling to learn Johnson’s offense. LeBron openly questioned Johnson’s firing when it happened, pointing to the fact that the Nets went 11-4 during the month of November. Brooklyn was off to a 3-10 start in December at the time of Johnson was canned.

Such is life in professional sports. Sometimes a coach wears out his welcome and can’t get the best effort from his players. Other times the head coach becomes of a victim of circumstance when his team is just incredibly inconsistent. If the Nets end up having a terrible month of February, we’ll have a better idea of why Johnson was run out of town.

Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Dunleavy reportedly on Nets’ coaching candidates list

Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Dunleavy reportedly are two of the names on the Brooklyn Nets’ list of potential head coaches. The Nets fired Avery Johnson on Thursday, just 28 games into the season. Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was promoted to interim head coach, but the team is believed to have its eyes on some other candidates.

At the top of the team’s list is Phil Jackson, who is said to be open to hearing their offer. Jackson reportedly was prepared to accept the Lakers job until it was given to Mike D’Antoni. He famously is only interested in coaching teams he believe can win a championship. The 14-14 Nets likely will not fit that criteria, so we doubt he will seriously consider the position, though CBS Sports’ Ken Berger says Jackson is “intrigued” by the job.

Van Gundy is said to be high on the Nets’ list if they are unable to get Jackson. ESPN New York says the Nets hold Van Gundy “in high regard” and consider him a serious candidate for the job. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski says Van Gundy is interested in the position, but he will not talk to the team until after the season out of respect for the current coach. The Nets were turned down by Van Gundy before hiring Johnson in 2010.

In addition to Van Gundy, Wojnarowski mentioned Kelvin Sampson as a potential candidate for the job. Sampson served as the Rockets’ head coach while Kevin McHale took a personal leave of absence last month. The New York Times’ Howard Beck says Sampson’s name has been discussed, but he is not viewed as a “significant candidate.”

Beck mentioned former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy as a candidate (as did ESPN New York). Dunleavy lobbied for the job on his radio show.

“First off, I’m from Brooklyn, so if ever given the opportunity to coach a team from Brooklyn, it would be a dream come true,” Dunleavy said on his SiriusXM show, via the New York Times. “Right now, to the best of my understanding, is that P. J. has been given the job on an interim basis — I’m not sure with the opportunity to keep it or not — but he’s a friend of mine, he’s a good coach and I wish him all the best in what he’s doing right now.”

Both ESPN New York and the Times mention Larry Brown as a potential candidate, citing his relationship with Billy King. Brown is currently in his first season as coach at SMU. Nate McMillan and Flip Saunders have also been mentioned as candidates for the job.

The Nets beat the Bobcats at home 97-81 on Friday in their first game under Carlesimo.

Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Avery Johnson reportedly lost many players in Nets locker room

Avery Johnson was fired by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday just 28 games into the season. The team was 14-14 and had gone 3-10 in its last 13 games. Blowout losses in recent games appeared to play a role in the firing, and so did Johnson’s perceived inability to reach his players.

GM Billy King said at his press conference announcing the firing that Johnson wasn’t reaching the team’s players.

“I have a pretty good pulse of players,” King said. “Not just Deron, but all our guys. I just got a sense that, as I told Avery this morning, that for some reason, he just wasn’t reaching them anymore.”

Howard Beck of The New York Times adds more context to King’s comments.

According to Beck, Johnson had “lost several members of the locker room” by the time he was fired. Beck says there was some suspicion about why Deron Williams missed Wednesday’s game with a wrist injury he had managed to play through the entire season. There was additional suspicion about Kris Humphries going on the inactive list with a previously undisclosed abdominal injury. Both players are said to be available for Friday’s game.

Plus, there’s this from Beck:

Although there were no other overt actions, the locker-room discontent was fairly widespread. Several players were unhappy with their playing time, the offense or both.

That could probably be said of the locker room of any team that has gone 3-10, but it’s still noteworthy. Williams was the only one who really complained about Johnson publicly, though it’s quite possible many others felt similarly.

For what it’s worth, a friend of Johnson told Beck that Williams “totally quit on Avery.”

Was Avery Johnson the problem with the Nets, or are they just not very good? I think they’re better than what they’ve shown lately, but I don’t think they’re as good as ownership thinks they are.

LeBron James, Avery Johnson’s son question firing

Avery Johnson was fired as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, one month after he was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November, and two weeks after Deron Williams complained about the team’s offensive system.

Brooklyn entered the season with high expectations after acquiring Joe Johnson in the offseason and re-signing Gerald Wallace. They started off 11-4 and won five games to end November, but they’ve slid since then and are now 14-14.

News of Johnson’s firing came as a surprise to many people, including LeBron James, who questioned the move:

Avery Johnson’s son, Avery Jr., was much more blunt:

[Read more...]

Jason Kidd: Deron Williams’ shooting is the problem, not the Nets’ system

Jason Kidd and Deron Williams both know what it’s like to play for Avery Johnson, and they both understand how it feels to not be fully comfortable playing for him. Earlier this week, Williams said he has not been the same player since joining the Brooklyn Nets and that he was far more comfortable in Jerry Sloan’s system with the Utah Jazz. Kidd, who had some disagreements with Johnson when he was with the Dallas Mavericks, said the offensive system isn’t the issue.

Simply put, Kidd feels that Williams has not been an effective enough shooter.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the coach,” Kidd said Thursday according to the NY Daily News. “I think it’s just a matter of getting comfortable making shots. Also, he has new teammates. He’s got to get used to a new crew. It’s always a growing period.

“He’s a grownup. He’ll figure it out. All things don’t go well right away sometimes. He’s just going through a struggle shooting the ball, but he’s one of the best at what he does, so he’ll work through it.”

A look at the numbers would tell you Kidd is right, and Deron has admitted several times that he has not shot well enough. Williams shot 43.9% from the field last season — the lowest since his rookie year — and is down to 39.6% so far this season. He’s hitting only 29.4% of his shots from beyond the arc, which is a career low.

Williams’ struggles have likely been caused by a combination of things, but his poor shooting is certainly what sticks out the most. A player who simply isn’t knocking down shots isn’t going to be comfortable in any system.

Deron Williams says he hasn’t been the same player since leaving the Jazz

Deron Williams has played in 90 games since joining the Brooklyn Nets in February of 2011, but he says he still isn’t totally settled in. For starters, he has been dealing with nagging injuries since the Utah Jazz shipped him across the country. In addition, Williams says he is not nearly as comfortable in Brooklyn’s offense as he was in Utah’s.

“I’ve really had injuries I’ve been dealing with the whole time,” Williams said Monday according to the NY Daily News. “I didn’t have the talent around me I did there. Their system was a great system for my style of play. I am a system player. I loved coach (Jerry) Sloan’s system there, I loved the offense there.”

Williams averaged 21 points per game last season with the Nets — the second-highest total of his career. However, his assist numbers have been just over 8.0 per game whereas they were consistently around 10.0 per game in Utah. He indicated the problem he has had adjusting could be due to the fact that Avery Johnson’s offense is less structured than he’s used to.

“I grew up in high school, my coach wasn’t one of those guys who would just throw out the ball and let us play,” Williams said. “We were a system team. We had a staple of plays that we relied on. We were good at execution. In college (at Illinois), we ran the motion offense. A lot of cutting, a lot passing, a lot of screening, a lot of extra passes. I’m used to just movement. So I’m still trying to adjust. It’s been an adjustment for me.”

Deron is only 28 years old and recently signed a five-year extension with Brooklyn, so he has plenty of time to find his comfort zone. But he knows big things are expected of the Nets in a new city, new arena and with new superstars like Joe Johnson. Williams is expected to be the glue that holds the whole thing together, so it would be in his best interest to learn quickly.