When former Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson got fired after just 28 games, the NBA was curious as to who the Nets would bring in. Although legendary names like Larry Brown and Phil Jackson surfaced, the Nets gave then assistant coach P.J Carlesimo a shot to lead this team.
When Carlesimo took over, the Nets were at the tail end of a 3-10 month of December where they had been beaten by the crosstown rival New York Knicks twice. Since hiring Carlesimo the Nets are 8-1 and are currently a fourth seed in the Eastern Conference–just two games behind those same Knicks for the Atlantic division lead.
Carlesimo has this team playing much better basketball. In nine games the team has improved in rebounding by seven boards a game as players like Reggie Evans have emerged with 11.7 RPG in January. Of course, any teams success starts at the top with its key players and Joe Johnson has been a force averaging 20.0 points a contest in January as opposed to 17.4 in December.
The Nets have not had the steepest competition since Johnson was let go but, Carlesimo has had his team prepared in must win games and are now two and half games out of first place in the conference. A game that definitely stays with me is the clubs win on the road versus an excellent Oklahoma City Thunder squad–in just his fourth game at the helm the Nets rattled off a 110-93 victory in which the aforementioned Johnson poured in a season high 33 points.
Carlesimo has done a fantastic job in Brooklyn and deserves plenty of praise for this stark turnaround.