Avery’s Gone, but what’s next for Brooklyn?
December 28, 2012
Yesterday the Brooklyn Nets let go off head coach Avery Johnson after the team struggled in December. What’s so perplexing to me is that Johnson was making the most of a flawed team, and was Coach of the Month last month! The Nets started the year on fire, winning 11 of their first 15 games. The following month was a tough one for Brooklyn, they sunk to a .500 record, while PG Deron Williams and Johnson clashed. Unfortunately, Johnson was a victim to a billionaire owner seeking immediate success. The Brooklyn Nets simply don’t have enough to win a title this year, no matter who is the head coach. The Nets have some pieces in place, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson (though he has lost a step), and Brook Lopez are a nice foundation to build a title contender. However, this team lacks depth as well as playmakers. During the Nets 3-10 December skid, the offense look stagnant as everyone watched Joe Johnson play one on one. Some of this blame should go to the Nets All Star PG (not Avery), whose production has decreased from last year.
Now that Johnson is gone, what’s next for Brooklyn? Several NBA sources have said the Nets are now pursuing Phil Jackson to coach the team. My advice… quit dreaming and wake up! Jackson, 12 time NBA Champion (1 as a player) will be in the mix for every available head coaching position. Despite billionaire Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s deep pockets, a fat contract won’t persuade Jackson to come out of retirement. The Nets don’t have enough talent to entice the Zen master to return to New York (he won a championship there during his playing days).
Here are some realistic candidates that would be a good fit for the Nets
One of the Van Gundy Brothers: Both Steve Van Gundy and Jeff Van Gundy are veteran coaches with experience with stars like Deron Williams. Steve turned a raw Dwight Howard into a top 5 player, and helped the lead the Magic to the Finals in 09′. He has won 371 games, and 4 division titles (1 with the Miami Heat). His brother Jeff coached the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets for 11 years. His teams have missed out on the playoffs only once, and like his brother Stan he has made the Finals once back in 1999 with the Knicks.
Patrick Ewing: This former Knicks legendary center is a Hall of Famer and is ranked as one of the top 50 NBA players of all time. His experience on the court has helped him become an excellent assistant coach. He was on Stan Van Gundy’s staff for the Orlando Magic and helped Dwight Howard develop a post game. Under Ewing’s guidance, Howard thrived particularly on defense and earned 3 straight Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Brian Shaw: Shaw spent 15 years in the NBA playing for several teams. After his playing career, he coached the Los Angeles Lakers under Phil Jackson’s and Mike Brown’s tenure. He is highly respected around the league, and is considered a great leader from players like Kobe Bryant. Much like Ewing, Shaw is patiently waiting for a head coaching opportunity and is capable of success if hired in an environment like Brooklyn.