There have been two high-profile changes in the NBA coaching ranks this season: Mike Brown was fired by the Lakers and Avery Johnson was let go by the Nets. P.J. Carlesimo thinks he knows why one has succeeded while the other has been disastrous.
Carlesimo told SNY Thursday that the Nets success after their coaching change, compared to the Lakers after theirs, is largely due to a "more orderly" transition, that the Lakers under Mike Dantoni changed the system in mid-season while the Nets stuck more or less with what they had.
Also in the interview on "Loudmouths," the Nets interim coach reiterated what he's previously said about the change, that Avery Johnson, but said it a bit stronger. His former boss, he said, was "doing a great job and in my opinion should still be here."
Carlesimo volunteered the Lakers comparison when asked by Adam Schein why the Nets are playing better now.
"It's a good transition. I'm not comparing us to the Lakers, but the difference between us and the Lakers where they bring in the new coach in and change the system and do everything different vs. us ... It was a more orderly change. We're running the same system. We got the same staff. So for our players, it was a much easier transition than some other teams go through when they change."
Carlesimo has repeatedly said that he thought a lot of the Nets difficulties in December were common to teams that are rebuilt during the off-season, what he called a lack of familiarity. That more than anything hurt the Nets, he said, pointing out that Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have only played together for three months. No doubt drawing from his experience with the Spurs, he noted, "Most of the teams that have sustained success in this league are the ones that have been together for a while."
"So i think a lot of it is doing what we were doing earlier, players are playing better, playing with more confidence, but i think a lot of it is getting to know each other a little better and acquire the experience"
As for players like D-Will suggesting it's more "fun" now, Carlesimo wouldn't take credit for that.
"We're winning and its lot more fun when you're winning," he said. "The games keep coming and it's crazy.
"I've been doing this for 40 years. Some of these guys have been playing basketball for 25 or 30 years. You'd think you'd have a little more perspective now, but you don't. When you win, you feel great, the wine tastes better, you sleep better, everybody feels better. When you lose, you second guess everything like it's the end of the world. It's kind of crazy but that's the way our life is."
Carlesimo also defended his point guard.
"I think he's gotten a bad rap. when you're the best player, the face of the franchise, and you struggle, that's what happens,' said the coach. "He's done a great job running the team, pushing the ball, He's an underrated defender, he's a way above average defender. his turnover - assist (ratio) is almost three to one."
And although he wasn't asked what his role has been in the team's change of fortunes, Carlesimo never once brought up anything he's done over the last month.