The Brooklyn Nets announced the firing of head coach Avery Johnson on Thursday, one day after a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks dropped the team's record to .500 (14-14). His record with the Nets in just over two seasons at the helm was 60-116.
P.J. Carlesimo will serve as the interim head coach while the Nets search for a full-time replacement, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The veteran coach last led the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2008-09 season.
Let's take a look at a timeline of Johnson's stint with the Nets, which will ultimately go down as a disappointment despite some signs of progress.
While the Nets only won 24 games in Johnson's first season, that was actually double the previous season's total, when the team suffered through a miserable 12-win campaign. The roster still lacked competitive talent, but doubling a win total isn't easy.
The immediate record improvement paired with the arrival of new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and star point guard Deron Williams led fans to believe the team was trending in the right direction. Progress was certainly being made.
At this point, Johnson looked like a good hire. He had plenty of success with the Dallas Mavericks, including a trip to the NBA Finals, and the improvement from players like Kris Humphries made it appear as though he was leading the Nets down the right path.
Johnson faced a couple major hurdles in his second year. The first was an NBA lockout that forced the season to get shortened to 66 games. By the time players showed up, any momentum that was built up the previous year was long gone.
The other issue was a pair of injuries to star center Brook Lopez. He missed the first half of the season with a broken foot and suffered an ankle injury just five games after returning, which caused him to miss the remaining games. Williams also missed time.
Despite that, Johnson still led the Nets to an improved winning percentage (.333 to .293). The team made another major addition in the likes of Gerald Wallace, leading to even more hype as the team prepared for its move to Brooklyn.
The arrival of Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche during the offseason raised expectations once again, and that's what ended up costing Johnson his job. People started expecting more from the Nets than they were capable of due to a lack of depth.
The Nets got off to a terrific start. They were 11-4 at the end of November, which was enough to earn Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors for Johnson. Brooklyn was hanging tough in the East as it appeared the turnaround was nearing completion.
Heading into December, it would have been crazy to think Johnson would be let go before the calendar turned to 2013. Alas, the Nets went into a tailspin starting with back-to-back losses to the title contending Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.
In all, the Nets won just three of their 13 December games leading up to Johnson's dismissal. That included a lackluster home loss to the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day. Deron Williams, the focus of scrutiny immediately after Johnson got canned, couldn't break out of his shooting slump to end the slide.
The combination of elevated expectations and the team's sudden struggles led Johnson to go from Eastern Conference Coach of the Month to unemployed in rapid fashion. It doesn't sound fair, but that's life in the NBA.
Now the Nets have to find a coach who isn't afraid of immense pressure to get the team back on track before the season is lost.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!