Thursday, June 10, 2010, 5:10 PM
General opinion, both locally and nationally, seems to favor the Nets' hiring of Avery Johnson. Going with the grain is not nearly as fun as being a rebel or trailblazer, but the people have spoken correctly. Avery Johnson is a fantastic choice for New Jersey, and I can assure you that Nets fans will be quite happy about it in the coming seasons.
Johnson brings a full coaching arsenal to the table: he's a decent guy, intelligent, respectful with the media, knows his X's and O's, has had tremendous success, is liked by his players. Seriously, what is not to like about him? Is it his fault that Dwyane Wade became superhuman for four games of the 2005-06 NBA Finals? So what if -- after coaching the Mavericks superbly to a No. 1 seed in the regular season -- they lost to a scorching hot Warriors team with inside information and matchup problems? I don't think Nets fans will be complaining about that again.
Optimism should be soaring in East Rutherford, Newark, Brooklyn, wherever. Mikhail Prokhorov has been nothing short of perfect since taking over the reins. He clearly knows what he is doing, and his commitment to the team is becoming more evident by the day. Who would believe that such an abysmal season could spawn such reason for hope? Sometimes, one has to reach the abyss before spotting the clouds.
Prokhorov insists that the Nets will make the playoffs next year, and I believe him. Even without a marquee free agent like LeBron James, the Nets will still attract talent (thanks to Prokhorov), and the young players should only improve under Avery Johnson's wise tutelage. Anyone who watched the games last year could tell you the Nets weren't as bad as their record. Now they will play up to their ever-increasing potential and exceed their would-be record.
Those games they kept giving away? From now on, that will be something for the other team to worry about.
Well done, Nets!