The Brooklyn Nets have lost 8 of their past 10 games and head coach Avery Johnson is already on the hot seat according to many fans and reporters. The Nets have not been playing well at all recently, and after losing to the Manhattan Knicks on Wednesday, they are now barely over .500 at 13-12. Although it is still early in the season, some think that it is time for Avery to go.
These rumors really first started when reporters talked to Nets point guard Deron Williams prior to the Nets’ loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Deron said that he thought that maybe Utah’s “system” worked better for him than the Nets’ heavy-isolation playbook has so far. Deron also said in that interview that he still needs more time getting used to the playbook and he will figure things out eventually.
Many reporters took these comments to mean that Deron would be happy to see Avery be fired, just like how reporters blamed Jerry Sloan’s firing in Utah on Deron Williams.
I have major problems with this. Deron Williams did not fire Jerry Sloan and he will not fire Avery Johnson. Deron has said that he still has a good relationship with coach Sloan to this day and still talks to him. Also, Deron is a big fan of Avery Johnson and invited Avery to his birthday dinner in the summer. Avery was a big reason why Deron decided to re-sign with Brooklyn in the offseason. Avery Johnson will not be fired anytime soon.
However, there are things that Avery can do to make the Nets’ playbook better. First of all, he needs to take out a lot of isolation plays and instead use more pick-and-rolls with either Brook Lopez or a player the Nets can acquire via a trade. In second halves of many games this season, the Nets have slowed down their ball movement way too much and just set up isolation plays for Joe Johnson or Brook Lopez. Avery needs to make sure the Nets continue moving the ball in the second half.
Is there a time when Avery Johnson should be fired? Yes, but the Nets should not be thinking about that now. If by the all-star break, the team is near or below .500 then they will consider firing Avery. But don’t expect Avery to be leaving any time soon.