In 24 days, everything fell apart for Johnson and the Nets, who are now 3-10 in December after an ugly loss in Milwaukee on Tuesday. They’ve lost five of their last six games and stand at 14-14, just a half game from being a Lottery team.
Of late, they’ve been awful defensively and not nearly as good offensively as they should be with all of their high-priced talent.
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
Deron Williams, of course, has played well below All-Star level. He is shooting career lows from both the field and from 3-point range, and the Nets’ defense has been at its worst with Williams on the floor. And now, Williams has his hand in two coaching departures in less than two years.
Ironically, Williams pined for the offense he ran under Jerry Sloan just last week. Johnson added some of Sloan’s offense in practice this past weekend, but the move obviously came too late.
Johnson doesn’t deserve all the blame, however. After Wednesday’s loss in Milwaukee, Gerald Wallace sounded off, as documented by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post…
“We’re a way better team than what our record is,” Gerald Wallace said. “I’m [bleeping ticked] off about us losing, and especially the way we’re losing.”
“It’s mind-boggling that we’re in the situation we’re in,” Wallace said. “As good of a team as we are, as good as started off … you saw the potential we had as a team, and the talent we have as a team. And yet, still, instead of team, it’s more of ‘I.’ “
“Confidence is our problem now,” he said. “I think that’s our main problem. Guys have got too much confidence in themselves and are not trusting in the team.
“Our main thing is we’ve got to get back to a team concept, all for one. Offensively and defensively, when we move the ball, we execute, we take care of the ball, we make the extra pass. … We’ve got to do everything as a team instead of relying on one guy to do this and one guy to do that.”
“Anybody can talk, but we’ve got to go out and execute that out on the court, and right now we’re really not doing that,” Wallace said. “We play a good half or we play a great quarter, and then we go back to playing selfish ball offensively and defensively, and that’s not getting us anywhere.”
P.J. Carlesimo (204-296 as a head coach), who was Johnson’s lead assistant, will take over on an interim basis. The Nets might reach out to Phil Jackson, but probably don’t have what it takes (the proper geography and championship-readiness) to coax Big Chief Triangle out of L.A. Either way, they should already be talking to Stan Van Gundy, who has proven that he can coach both ends of the floor at a high level.