Avery Johnson won a lot of games as the coach of the Dallas Mavericks, but things were done his way, his style of play with defense and a slow-it-down, controlled offense. Dirk Nowitzki referred to it as a dictatorship.
Things have not changed much, just the venue.
The Brooklyn Nets are winning a lot of games but doing it Johnson’s way. He calls the plays, he sets the tone. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News got Deron Williams — the kind of point guard a lot of coaches would give some freedom — to talk about it.
“At times, he likes to micro-manage the game.”
Not all players like that, go ask Devin Harris.
Williams admits he has some latitude — but like a parent dealing with a teenager, allowing some freedoms has to come with them maintaining other responsibilities.
As Williams says, “he’s not always going to agree, but he’s going to listen.” Johnson let the offense flow against the Thunder. Williams benefited on one end while the defense crumbled. For some reason the Nets were suckered into Oklahoma City’s preferred style of play, attempting to run up and down with a team more adept at such entertaining basketball.
After a rough first weeks of the season the Nets had been playing pretty good defense up until Tuesday night. And so you can expect Johnson to rein his team in a little. Try to get them to focus on defense.
But this is a back-and-forth, push-and-pull thing that could get interesting late in the season and into the playoffs, when the competitive Williams will want more.