P.J. Carlesimo or P.J., aka Phil Jackson? We’re pretty sure everyone wants the latter of the two, but for now, the Nets will be better off with Carlesimo.
Before the ink even dried on Avery Johnson’s pink slip, rumors began circulating that the Nets would reach out to Jackson. It’s the obvious move considering Jackson’s past and the fact that he’s available. Sticking with Carlesimo may be the wiser move when all is said and done, however.
This isn’t to say Jackson wouldn’t be the right choice, but Carlesimo has ample head coaching experience, he knows the roster and he knows what is expected of the team. There’s no doubt that Carlesimo knew there was a problem with the Nets’ offense during Johnson’s tenure: too much isolation, too much one-on-one and not enough ball movement.
Outside of one blip on the radar–a 104-73 loss at San Antonio on New Year’s Eve–the Nets’ offense has been much more aggressive. The team has hit the century mark in five of Carlesimo’s seven games, including Tuesday’s 109-89 win over Philadelphia.
Part of that success can be attributed to Carlesimo’s rotation. Second-year pro MarShon Brooks has seen his minutes increase. He’s played 19 or more minutes three times since Carlesimo took over. He’d played 19 or more minutes just three times before that.
“I’ve been lacking confidence because of my lack of play,” said Brooks, who had 15 points in a 109-93 win over the Kings last Saturday. Although Carlesimo has already made moves to put his imprint on the team, the coach said he will remain patient before any drastic measures are made.
“We have to wait until we get everybody back healthy and then figure out what lineup [will work],” said Carlesimo.
Patience is a virtue, except when it comes to professional sports. Johnson found that out the hard way when he was let go after a 14-14 start. Carlesimo, who is 6-1, will get some time to put his stamp on things, but he can’t afford to rest on his laurels in today’s fast-paced NBA.