I was a big supporter of Avery Johnson in nearly every facet of this playing and coaching career, but there's no denying he has made some crucial mistakes in this young season with this Brooklyn Nets team. A lot of the players are not meeting expectations, but I think a large part of that has to do with the position he puts them in.
1) Play Mirza Teletovic at Small Forward
- There was a lot of hype around his signing, and rightfully so, but Avery Johnson has not used him at all to his strengths.
HE CANNOT REBOUND. HE CANNOT DEFEND ELITE BIG MEN. This is clear, but what he can do is score. His three point touch has been off, but that's because he has not been given a chance to get into the flow of the game. Avery Johnson just looks at his height and throws him in as a random big off the bench. That's not productive for anyone.
He was a playmaker with the ball in his hands in Europe, which is why he had success there. Now, he needs to earn the right to have that role with the Nets, but I think if they play him at SF he'll get much more scoring opportunities, both shooting and driving. The argument against this is that he will get massacred by LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but outside of those two, I don't think it will be that much of a matchup issue against SFs throughout the league, and it's not even like he's playing big minutes where he would have to deal with them much anyway.
Give this a shot, because this simple move could be an extra 10 points per game.
2) Give Kris Humphries Some More Time at Center
- Remember some of the physical bouts he had with Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol last year? I think you can get that out of him by having him be the 5 with some rotations. We saw that in the Milwaukee game a bit already.
I do not agree with his benching at all, but I think this is one way to make the most out of his energy.
3) Give MarShon Brooks A Shot At The 6th Man Role
- Another one of Avery's weird tendencies has been playing either Deron or Joe the entire first quarter. Bring Brooks in for one of them at around the 4 minute mark and let him play with the other elite guard. I'd actually like to see a Brooks and Johnson backcourt finish off the first quarter.
Brooks was in the dog house last season, but not at the level he is this year. It's time to give him an opportunity to prove himself again, and if you're not sold on him after that, giving him a spotlight might help his trade value.
4) Don't run so much offense through Brook.
- Brook Lopez may be the best back to the basket center in the league, but you're hurting his growth by limiting him to post plays. You're also hurting the other four guys on the court who have to sit and watch while he goes through his elongated motion.
Give him an opportunity to develop a 12 foot jump shot. Make him go after rebounds for touches. Mix it up a little bit, because this is starting to get stagnant and easy to defend.
5) Tell Stackhouse To Keep Shooting
- He has looked Ray Allen-esque at times from beyond the arc this season, and the Nets need him to continue to do that. Last year the team excelled when they utilized Williams, Farmar, Brooks and Morrow's three point prowess. Stackhouse is the only guy consistently hitting that shot so he needs to be aggressive as possible when those opportunities do arise.
These are some small things, but I think they will instantly upgrade this struggling Nets team.