The Nets are off to a 4-2 start to the season, but all is not well, at least in Joe Johnson’s eyes.
The player who leads the team in scoring (19.8) and field goal attempts (16) per game went on an unprovoked tirade at shootaround Tuesday, telling reporters that players have been looking out for themselves on the offensive end of the floor, and only look to involve others once they’ve run out of personal options.
“It’s just- as individuals, as players, (we have to) have each other’s backs out there,” Johnson vented to the media after the team’s Tuesday afternoon practice. “I just felt, I didn’t believe it. I go back, and I watch the tape, and I watch film just to try to get a different perspective, and I mean, my feelings haven’t changed.”
“It’s just kind of what it is. Defensively, we help from time to time, offensively, I just think guys kind of exhaust their options and then when there’s nothing else for them, then they’ll pass it when they have to. For the most part, we’ve been very selfish.” …
“It wasn’t like that in preseason,” Johnson added. “Preseason, the ball moved freely, it just seems like it’s really not doing that right now.” …
“I’m not hiding anything,” Johnson vented after the team’s practice Tuesday. “We’re 4-2 six games into the season, but it’s early. We haven’t played anybody, and the Minnesota game (is) obviously a game we should’ve won. I thought this last game that we played against Orlando was almost a carbon copy.”
There were no individual teammates called out during this rant, but it’s obvious Johnson hasn’t liked what he’s seen to this point in the season, despite the decent start from a won-loss perspective.
Brooklyn’s wins have come against Detroit, Oklahoma City, the Knicks and the Magic. One loss came in blowout fashion on opening night in Boston, and the other was a loss at home to the Timberwolves.
There’s plenty of work to do for this Nets team; Brook Lopez needs to improve to the point where Lionel Hollins trusts him in the fourth quarter, and there are likely cohesiveness issues on the offensive end that need to be ironed out as Johnson mentioned. Discussing those publicly aren’t likely to help the situation, but Johnson is normally more quiet about these things, so whatever’s going on must truly be troublesome in order for him to decide to speak out.