Avery Excited for Season to Start
December 6, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Tuesday at the PNY Center, NETS coach Avery Johnson met with media at the team's practice facility, speaking for the first time about the team's outlook and how they plan to approach free agency. He also announced P.J. Carlesimo and Mario Elie would be joining his bench as assistants.
After a summer awaiting the end of the NBA lockout, Nets coach Avery Johnson is so excited, he’s willing to coach all 66 soon-to-be-scheduled games on consecutive days.
Meeting with media on Tuesday at the PNY Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Johnson spoke for the first time this season about the team’s outlook and his confidence that they’ll be able to re-sign free-agent-to-be Deron Williams because of improvements to the roster and circumstances, from the on-court record to next year’s move to Brooklyn and the under-construction Barclays Center.
“We would rather be in this situation where there is some more pressure for our team to rebuild our roster then just to be a team that’s a lottery team every year and always rebuilding,” Johnson said. “At some point, you have to stop rebuilding and really get in the process of becoming a playoff team. Most really good teams have a 3-to-5-year window where they really have a chance to win a championship. Hopefully we'll get in that window sooner than later.”
While the upcoming free agency signing period leaves part of the roster in flux (contracts can be agreed upon beginning Friday at 12 a.m.), Johnson feels the team should be able to upgrade a few “glaring weaknesses” because of “many positives.” Those include an elite point guard in Williams, a top-5 center in Brook Lopez, a prolific shooter in Anthony Morrow and talented young players like Damion James, MarShon Brooks and Jordan Williams.
Johnson is working closely with General Manager Billy King to strategize for the trade- and free-agent markets, indicating – as did King – that big men are a priority and Lopez might shift to power forward so as to accommodate a new acquisition. The coach has already reshuffled his bench, adding two new assistants to replace
“We looked at our coaching staff, and we looked at the way we train, we looked at every department,” Johnson explained. “We feel we got the right fit this year and hopefully, the guys that we have, they’ll be able to provide some continuity for us, so now we can have a staff that I can move forward with, not only this year, but for the next couple of years.”
As Johnson opens his second season at the helm, his system has been put in place, and at least eight rotation players will return, offering stability during what will be a compressed season. He’ll again focus on defense, rebounding and offensive efficiency, and he’ll do it in front of New Jersey fans during the team’s 35th year playing in the state.
“That’s why I was really pulling for us to have a season this year,” Johnson said. “I wanted to really celebrate the fans of New Jersey and specifically, the fans in Newark that come out and support us in the Prudential Center. And hopefully give them a product on the court that they can be proud of and celebrate them the way they need to be celebrated, in terms of us exiting and heading to Brooklyn. In a perfect world, a high percentage of those fans follow us to Brooklyn.
“It’s been a really good, neat partnership. They should be celebrated and congratulated for all of the support they’ve shown the Nets.”