Tag:Avery Johnson
Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:09 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 11:58 am

Terrence Williams is destroying the D-League

Posted by Royce Young

UPDATE: Williams has been recalled by the Nets.

Mostly, when a young player is sent to the D-League, it's about what the "D" stands for - development. But that wasn't the case for Nets guard Terrence Williams.

Because of issues with being late, Williams was sent to the D-League. Coach Avery Johnson says it was about giving him the opportunity to play, but most agreed it was a punishment of sorts aimed to give Williams a wake-up call.

But in his time in the D-League, Williams has absolutely torn up the world in the three games he's played with the Springfield Armor. He notched triple-doubles in his first two outings and in his most recent game Sunday against the Maine Red Claws, he scored 36 points, pulled in nine boards and handed out seven assists.

In the three games, Williams is averaging 28.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 1.3 steals a game. I guess sometimes it's not hard to tell when one is not like the other. Williams is clearly an NBA-level talent. But it's his head that's keeping him out of it.

With the Nets, Williams has been squeezed. He hasn't played much this season averaging just 19.9 minutes a game in eight appearances. He was drafted 11th overall out of Louisville in 2009 and seen as a player capable of exactly what he's doing in the D-League. But because of this recent issue, plus some odd exchanges he's had on Twitter, it's been easy to wonder where Williams' head is at.

Clearly his basketball ability isn't in question. He's one of the most athletic shooting guards in the league, had mid-range touch, great vision and the ability to be an above-average defender. Put all of that together and it's easy to scratch your head wondering why he's not playing in front of Anthony Morrow or even Travis Outlaw at small forward.

The Nets are in desperate need of playmakers and Williams can be exactly that for them. Maybe his stint in the D-League will show him what a player he can be and maybe get his head straightened a bit. Because he has the ability for sure. But it's a matter of if he has the head.
Posted on: November 25, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:03 pm

Tardy Terrence Williams runs afoul of Nets

New Jersey Nets guard Terrence Williams is having problems showing up on time and head coach Avery Johnson is weighing his options. Posted by Ben Golliverterrence-williams 

Update (Friday):

Yesterday (below), we advocated a policy that would make New Jersey Nets wing Terrence Williams think about his professional obligations. Today, NorthJersey.com reports that, rather than being left indefinitely inactive, Williams has been assigned to the D-League, where he will play for the Springfield Armor. Same message, different method: smart move. Original Post (Thursday):

Terrence Williams, a second-year guard for the New Jersey Nets, has the skills and physical tools to be a much more productive player in the NBA than he has shown so far. Big-bodied and with excellent leaping ability, Williams should be a solid, physical second-unit wing capable of getting his own shot and bodying up on his man. Instead, Williams is a giant question mark for the Nets and head coach Avery Johnson, as he has reportedly been late to practices and shootarounds multiple times. He was deactivated by the team last week, didn't travel on the team's current road trip and has appeared in just eight games so far this year, averaging 6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 20 minutes per game. His stats are down across the board from his rookie numbers. Johnson is a known disciplinarian, and on a young team like the Nets sometimes examples need to be set. Williams, it sounds like, is becoming one of those examples. Fed up with his continued tardiness after being fined, the Nets and Johnson, NorthJersey.com reports, are now exploring their options regarding Williams.
At this point, the Nets are not planning to fine Williams (again), suspend him, send him to the NBA Developmental League or trade him. His value is too low.
The Nets will see whether Williams, who repeatedly has been late, has gotten the message. Then Johnson and general manager Billy King will decide whether to activate him and bring him to Philadelphia for Saturday’s game, or keep him inactive until he learns his lesson. "Billy and I will sit together on the flight and come up with a solid course of action of what we want to do," Johnson said. "I will have an answer on Friday. A definitive answer, no sugarcoating it, no gray area, we’ll have an answer."
In a related NJ.com report, the Nets are said to be weighing a release, trade or additional fines, or leaving him on the inactive list.
Johnson said a suspension of Williams, who did not make the trip to Boston with the team, is “not one of the options that we’ve discussed.’’ He did say that one of the options is simply bringing Williams back on the active roster after his two-game punishment.
So if suspension is not being considered and reinstating Williams is, what other options are there? Well, Williams could be waived, or traded or fined. But Johnson said Tuesday that the team had fined Williams before, and that had not corrected the problem. One other option, of course, would be to simply leave Williams on the inactive list indefinitely.
A trade of Williams, at this point, seems unlikely, as word is certainly out around the league about his work habits, and that's a giant red flag in the short term, but could dissipate after a solid stretch of productive play. In other words, trading him now would be selling low. The Nets would be foolish to waive Williams, and this seems like the least likely possibility. He is an asset, if only as a salary number for a larger trade, and, if he gets his stuff together he could be a valuable piece for this team. If fines aren't working, and it sounds like they're not, the Nets will likely decide between letting him rejoin the team under certain conditions, letting him rejoin the team but remain on the bench, or leaving him inactive for a stretch. I like the last option, because it gets the message across: playing in the NBA is not a gift, it's an honor that demands a high level of professionalism. No NBA player, no matter how confused or unfocused he might be, wants to sit indefinitely, not knowing his fate.  Playing time is always the best motivator. A stretch away from team and court has done wonders for players with much larger problems and issues than Williams. 
Posted on: September 8, 2010 5:56 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 9:50 pm

Pop Quiz: Which coach is on the hot seat?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Which coach has the hottest seat going into the season?

Scott Brooks.

No kidding, you have to put Scott Brooks on this list. Even though he's been instrumental in taking a team with nothing but young players and turning them into a playoff team that looks every bit ready to challenge for a Western Conference title, Brooks has to be on this list. Why? Because he was so good last year he won the career death sentence: the Coach of the Year award. Let's take a look at the previous winners, shall we?

Mike Brown: canned.

Byron Scott: deleted.

Sam Mitchell: terminated.

Avery Johnson: gonezo.

Yeesh. Watch your back, Scottie.

Okay, besides the superstition, who's actually in danger of losing their gig this year? Here are four candidates.

Jay Triano: It's been stunning how Triano has managed to avoid harsh criticism for his squad's performance which helped lead to Chris Bosh's departure without so much as a consideration for staying in Toronto. Brian Colangelo takes all the blame for constructing a spineless defensive team with too many inconsistencies offensively, despite acquiring Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans and being willing to spend for Hedo Turkoglu (who despite all his problems, was a legit quality free agent last summer). Yet Triano's team wound up with the worst defensive marks in the league, falling out of the playoffs down the stretch, and he walked away largely unscathed. Now the Raptors are suffering with a significant lack of talent, and often, guys who underperformed with talent end up getting removed when they actually have good reasons for underperforming... much like Triano faces this season.

John Kuester: The offensive wiz of a team now considered to be one of the greater disappointments of the last decade had a rough opening season. Injuries and subpar play from their big free agents (which most people saw coming outside of the Pistons, though not to the degree) played a part, but this is a cold hearted business that very rarely provides reasonable responses to legitimate causes for losing. If Kuester can't get the Pistons turned around with that payroll, his reputation may not spare him from the axe of Joe Dumars.

Flip Saunders: If anyone in the entire league has an excuse for struggling through two seasons, it's got to be Saunders. Saunders was at the helm for one of the most disastrous seasons in league history last year, and had to preside over the meltdown, grin, and bear it as all his talent was shipped out in a rebuilding plan. John Wall was a Godsend, but Saunders has to deal with re-integrating Gilbert Arenas, containing the combustible Andray Blatche, and trying to move the franchise forward with John Wall. Throw in new majority ownership from Ted Leonsis, and Saunders may have too much stacked against him to survive a poor start, fair or not.

Jim O'Brien: Larry Bird has committed to O'Brien, has stayed by his side, and recently gave him a vote of confidence. But he's in the last year of his deal, which makes letting him go much easier to swallow. On top of that, the questions about talent are no longer going to valid this year. The Pacers now feature a legit center in Roy Hibbert, a legit star forward in Danny Granger, and a star point guard in Darren Collison. If O'Brien can't make this team work in a thin Eastern Conference, with at least some improvement, Bird may run out of patience for him.

Posted on: June 28, 2010 1:53 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2010 1:58 pm

The coaching factor in Lebron James' free agency

Our own Ken Berger outlined for you the totality of what LeBron James is condering in his free agency courtship ritual that starts Thursday. But lost among the discussions of weather, teammates, finance, marketing, wine, women, and song is that somewhere in there, he's got to play actual basketball. And while the roster certainly plays a part in that, what about the potential head coaches he'll be leveraging a system with? Let's be clear on this, his new coach's system will be molded to fit James' game, not the other way around (ironic, since James is the one free agent with the most versatility of this monstrous class of 2010). So what exactly is he going to be examining starting Thursday at 12:01AM EST (yes, yes, we know, he's already looking at those things. Play along, will you?).

Chicago: Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is coming in as a blank offensive book. He's been focused on defense for the past ten years, and there's been scare discussion of what exactly Thibodeau has in mind. One thing we do know is he wants to initate the offense with Derrick Rose , capitalizing on his speed and strength. The question for James is if he's prepared to play off-ball and be set up to use his incredible array of talents, or if he wants to run the LeISO sets, as they were called in Cleveland, where he single-handedly orchestrated the offense. Certainly in crunch time those are the possessions you want, with your best player with the ball in his hand. But if James recognizes that Rose's dribble penetration and mid-range game can open up more opportunities while saving his energy, Chicago could become a lot more attractive.

New York: Mike D'Antoni. If James has visions of wanting to challenge for averaging a triple double, New York is where he needs to be. Seven Seconds or Less will boost anyone's stats, and when you examine what Shawn Marion was able to do (21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds) with a lesser skillset under the 'stache, James' numbers could be through the roof. It's the defensive side of the ball where James is likely to be hesitant. If there's one thing his playoff failures have taught him, from Detroit to San Antonio to Boston to Orlando and then Boston again, it's that defense wins championships. He's had that mantra pounded into him from the day the Cavs made the playoffs, and all his most succesful teams have been built around defense. It would take a dramatic departure for James to embrace D'Antoni's style, which would defensively result in more highlight breakaways off of turnovers, but would also make life much harder for him against the Eastern elite. Numbers aren't everything, and the team defensive numbers are likely to matter more.

Miami Heat:
Pat Riley's pitch is going to be simple. Talent matters, and if you play with Dwyane Wade, everything else is irrelevant. The problem is that while Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has made the playoffs with the Heat and won consistently, the offense has been a bit of a disaster. Too often Spoelstra has surrendered command to Wade and not induced enough off-ball movement and against playoff schemes designed to converge on ISO players (like, say, Boston), the Heat's strategy has wilted considerably. Spoelstra's defensive components should be sound, and he's well liked by the players and organization. Miami could be an attractive option if James decides he wants more control over the offense, since a simpler system will have fewer principles for him to crack.

New Jersey Nets:
Avery Johnson has experience with creating offense. His Mavericks teams were good on both sides of the ball, but under Johnson they were versatile behemoths, slayed primarily because of a series of bad matchups in the playoffs. Johnson had success using Devin Harris as a drive and create guard, and circling the offense through Dirk Nowitzki in the high post. We heven't seen James operate much in the high post, curiously, as he usually either attacks from the perimeter or sets up in the low block. Using James as a Josh Howard/Dirk Nowitzki hybrid could yield some explosive results under Avery, and his commitment to man-defensive principles could appeal to James' simplistic concept of defense without as many of the help systems he adhered to under Mike Brown.

The Clippers and Cavs currently don't have a coach. The question is if that's a good thing or a bad thing for them as they attempt to lure James. It could be good from the perspective of giving James the option of selecting his own coach from a series of candidates. But it could also look like the organization doesn't have their house in order. Both candidates the Clippers are exploring do have head coaching experience, but aren't considered top rung. And the longer the Cavs get jerked around by Byron Scott waiting on the Lakers, the worse it looks for them, especially with Danny Ferry out.

As Berger said, there's a world of things James will be considering, and he'll be the final one making the decision. Coaching in the NBA isn't the most important thing, but it's certainly a factor. And in a competition where you're judged down to the minute detail, because James simply has the luxury of examining you to that degree, things like coaching will matter. What James decides to go with will say a lot about what he thinks of his game, and where he thinks his future is best invested, system-wise.

-Matt Moore

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com