Avery Johnson has never had a big man like Brook Lopez. Sure he had Dirk Nowitzki, but no one with back to the basket skills like Lopez. What he has always had is a big man coach he trusts. Popeye Jones made the most out of what he had: Brandon Bass and DeSagana Diop. Now he has someone special.
Jones says he's looking forward to working not just with Lopez, but with Derrick Favors and Troy Murphy too. Murphy in fact was a teammate of both Johnson and Jones his rookie year at Golden State. Jones tells Ben Couch of the Nets website that he will push technique on his students: "I try to teach, first of all, that you’ve got to go every time. You watch a lot of guys, when the ball’s in the air, they watch – even big guys. You’ve got to go and be in shape to really go and work in the paint, throw elbows and get hit by elbows."