Avery Johnson: Unrealistic Expectations got Brooklyn Nets Coach Fired
When you’re young you have dreams and you mentally mark them down as goals. The younger you are the higher expectations you have for yourself. In early preteen years you likely have dreams of being an astronaut or a doctor, but then reality sets in with those “D” grades and you set those dreams on fire.
In your early teen years you might want to be a professional athlete or an actor. Well, that is until you find out you can’t jump over a phone book and might be the ugliest person on the block. Late-teens and college years (if you go) reality starts to set in. You’ve made your bones and realized that there is nothing wrong with being a mid-level businessmen or a gas station attendant. For the Brooklyn Nets, they are somehow still in the preteen years stage.
In any other year, a year they weren’t in Brooklyn, the Nets would be more than fine being just two games out of the number four seed in the East. Let’s be real about their organization, they have been a far cry from anything relevant since being a part of the NBA.
More recently, they have been more of a laughing stock of sorts. Since the years when Jason Kidd and a young Kenyon Martin took them to the NBA Finals they have been nothing short of Washington Wizard-like. A team you know going into every season is just going to stink. Then something strange happened, they moved to Brooklyn and a new set of expectations were set.
This past off-season the Nets made a slew of semi-splashy moves. Resigning Deron Williams, getting “Iso” Joe Johnson, resigning the decomposing corpse of Gerald Wallace (that was actually last year), and getting one of the Kardashians on the cheap. All of these moves, if made separate, would be decent additions to any already contending basketball team. But when they, along with the regressing Brook Lopez, are the key players in which you’re building your team around, not such a good looking investment.
This year Williams is statistically playing the worst hoops of his career, shooting the lowest percentage from the field. Johnson has disappeared on the court to the point where you forget he’s actually on the team (That’s especially bad considering he’s an isolation player. You know, “LOOK AT ME, I GOT THE BALL!”).
Lopez, who was once thought to be one of the upper echelon centers in the league, just looks nonathletic and untalented on the court. And while Wallace plays every play like the Mayan Apocalypse is any day now, he’s aging quicker than the Nets expected. The worst part of all of this is, thanks to overspending on decent players, the Nets are locked into this team for a few years, therefore making it one of the most undesirable coaching spots in the entire NBA.
All of that wonderful information brings us to the firing of Avery Johnson. Johnson isn’t the greatest coach in the NBA nor is he the worst. He’s a strict, run of the mill, middle of the pack kind of coach. But for Brooklyn management, he wasn’t good enough. Whoever is actually in charge in their front office(Jay-Z isn’t, hate to break it to you kids), somehow convinced themselves that this version of the Nets is better than a four-ish seed in the East.
What exactly was the Nets expectations coming into this season. Surely they didn’t expect to compete with the Miami Heat, right? Did they honestly believe with the additions of overpaid role-players that they would jump the Boston Celtics? Could they have not factored in that other teams, like the New York Knicks, were also planning on getting better this season?
If the Nets were still in New Jersey, Johnson would still have a head coaching job. With their move to Brooklyn and a slew of uninspired, but flashy, moves during the off-season, the Nets convinced themselves they were players in the East. Nets fans(funny, there weren’t any when they were in Jersey), media members, and even people within the Nets organization bought the hype.
Brooklyn tried its best to become an astronaut. They went to space camp, studied hard at school, and spent all that money for a one on one interview with Neil Degrasse Tyson. But sometimes trying isn’t enough and you have to realize what you truly are. As of this moment, in the Nets case, they are gas station attendants.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Well, that’s until you start posing as an astronaut.
Joe covers the Catholic Seven for Rant Sports while dabbling in the NBA. Follow Joe on the social media device known as the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone