For Avery, inability to connect with players hurt him more than anything

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Appleman is writing a book on the Nets first season in Brooklyn. He also writes for the Times, NBA.com and now, GQ, Gentleman's Quarterly.

In his first offering, Appleman writes of Avery Johnson's demise and how he had a politician's sensibility and survival skills, knowing who he had to please ... up to a point, obviously.

He catered to the beat writers, for example, believing they would fill their columns with his quotes, endearing him both to them and their readers. But there were a lot of idiosyncrasies to his style. A lot of his decision-making was based on odd stats that never were fully explained.

P.J. Carlesimo is different, Appleman writes, often using self-depreciation to disarm criticism, something you'd never hear from Johnson.

Bottom line: Johnson "was too different for some of his players," something he may not have understood.

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