FanPost

Damion James

Throughout the duration of the pre-season the absence of Damion James was noted by many, if not all, of NetsDaily.  Many chalked it up to Avery making the rookie earn his minutes, some claimed that it could be Avery's way of showing that players needed to make markable improvement if they expected to see the court and some hypothesized that Avery wanted to see what he had in Stephen Graham who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract.  There were rumors that Avery stated that James continued to make the same mistakes in practice and until he could improve he would be seeing the bench.  Some also pulled past reports where James had an issue with his coach at Texas giving him tough-love, but that coach later praised Damion for his leadership and teamwork.  No matter what the theory, the consensus was that once the season started Avery would institute a long rotation where players who performed on the court would be able to earn their minutes.  In the past, Avery usually gave players minutes based on merit and not based on talent, ego or contract size.

While it is only five games into a season where the Nets introduced twelve new players and underwent a complete overhaul of the coaching staff it isn't to early to take notice of the minutes (or lack thereof) that Damion James is being given.  The Nets starting small-forward, Travis Outlaw, has severely underperformed his contract and shows a consistent lack of effort and intelligence on both sides of the ball. The Nets started the season with Stephen Graham (who many thought would be cut before training camp ended) as their backup small-forward, but he quickly became burried on the bench.  In the third game of the season Damion James appeared to have the backup small-forward spot, but was still given minimal minutes.  In the limited minutes he was given it was evident that James could play at a high-level on both sides of the floor. However, since that game it appears as if Damion has been buried again in Avery's rotation (James didn't play until garbage time last night).

So I guess the point of this FanPost is to extend an open-ended question that many of us have been wondering: Why isn't Damion James being given adequate minutes when it appears that every time he steps on the court the team plays better and he produces?  

Now of course the only person that has the answer to this question is Avery Johnson, but it doesn't hurt to hypothesize.  

My guess is that James isn't responding well to Avery's coaching style and doesn't correct the mistakes he makes in practice.  I would be apt to say that Avery doesn't like to play rookies from the start, but Favors seems to be the first big off the bench.  When the Nets drafted James it was said that "this was Avery's pick" and that "he's an Avery-type player" so it is puzzling to me that he isn't being given ample playing time.

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