Avery Johnson may not have been working out as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, but the man they've chosen to replace him in the interim certainly isn't the answer either.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets have tabbed assistant P.J. Carlesimo to take over the reins while they look for a replacement:
In fact, the Nets have made P.J. Carlesimo the interim head coach, sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 27, 2012
For a short period of time, that's all well and good. There isn't much damage any coach could do (or undo) with an interim label. However, the Nets Twitter feed sent out a message that could keep Brooklynites clinging to a nightlight: Carlesimo will be a part of the team's long-term coaching search:
For Nets fans everywhere, that is a scary thought. An oft-criticized name in coaching circles, Carlesimo is a guy that both casual fans and NBA diehards know without equivocation would make a bad situation far, far worse.
Those who have followed Carlesimo's career know it actually started out exceedingly well. He spent 13 seasons rebuilding the basketball program at Seton Hall, where he made an appearance in the 1989 NCAA Championship Game before moving over to the NBA.
Once in the pros, however, things slowly careened off a steep cliff. In stints with three different franchises, Carlesimo has an overall record of 204-296. The last five seasons, though, were historically bad. According to the New York Post's Mark Hale, his 67-207 record over the past five years of his coaching career would equate to a 20-62 yearly finish:
In PJ Carlesimo's last 5 yrs where he was a head coach -- covering 2 teams -- he was 67-207. Wow.Averages out to 20-62 per 82 games. #nets— Mark Hale (@HaleMark) December 27, 2012
Outside of obviously poor on-court play, Carlesimo is a famously grating presence among NBA players. A taskmaster at Seton Hall with a penchant for demanding perfection, the 63-year-old coach took that style over to the next level, and it didn't receive a warm reception.
Obviously, the most infamous incident of player discontent under Carlesimo was Latrell Sprewell choking his superior while in Golden State. While Spree isn't exactly what you would call a typical NBA player, Carlesimo has also been described as an "unrepentant screamer."
Coaches oftentimes find out awfully quick that constant yelling doesn't work in the NBA—especially when you're losing. Remember, Deron Williams nearly came to blows with the often cantankerous Jerry Sloan in Utah. Considering that Sloan actually has a reputation of winning basketball games, one has to wonder how long it would take Williams to clash with Carlesimo.
If personality clashes and a history of losing weren't enough to scare Nets fans, Carlesimo's history of mind-numbing personnel decisions should do the trick.
The most notable recent example came with Carlesimo's insistence on playing Kevin Durant at shooting guard with the then-Seattle Supersonics. Durant still managed to put up decent numbers (20.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.4 APG) despite obviously playing out of position, but he shot only 43 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from beyond the arc.
After a 1-12 start the following season with Durant playing the 2, the relocated Thunder fired Carlesimo. Assistant Scott Brooks took over the team and one of his very first moves was switching KD to the small forward position. Durant promptly went on to score 26 points per game from his natural position and the rest is history.
Now, pray tell, how do you think he would handle the personnel in Brooklyn? History tells us certainly not well enough to live up to the team's massive expectations.
Granted, one could realistically wonder whether any coach would be the right fit for the unrealistic expectations in Brooklyn. All things considered, this is a very middling basketball team on paper and the results have indicated such. According to 82Games, the Nets' regular starting lineup is actually the worst among their five most-used five-man units.
All things considered, that fact isn't on Johnson. Say what you will about his heavy isolation offensive sets—and Williams has (per the New York Times' Howard Beck)—Johnson also instituted a UCLA set meant to cater to his point guard.
Also, he didn't put this roster together. The man who fired him, Billy King, did.
The Nets are a team with many inherent flaws and were from the moment they were constituted. Apparently, Johnson was not the man. However, if the Nets wind up thinking Carlesimo is that man, they'll have an awakening far ruder than a 14-14 start.