Go ahead, take a look at P.J. Carlesimo's numbers since Avery Johnson’s departure; they’re stellar. He’s 13-5 since taking over on December 27.
So there’s absolutely no reason for Nets fans to think this won’t continue for the remainder of the season spilling over into next year, right?
And let me say this first, I personally love the way P.J. has been coaching this team so far. For whatever reason, the players have responded in a much more positive way than they did under Avery. Their chemistry is 10 times better, and he’s been able to utilize guys like MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic to the Nets' advantage.
Well, here we go.
Let’s rewind the clock back to '90s when, honestly, everything was better. P.J. was coaching the Portland Trailblazers, a successful Trailblazers team at that. He exited the first round of the playoffs three years in a row, was fired and then moved to Golden State in 1997.
Following his firing, he led the Warriors to a 19-63 record good for sixth in the Western Conference. The 1998-99 season was shortened due to a lockout, and the season began on February 5th (and you thought last year’s lockout was bad). The Warriors did marginally better finishing 21-29, also good for sixth place in the West. In the 1999-00 season the Warriors would part ways with P.J. after a 6-21 start.
Carlesimo would serve as the assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich from 2002-2007.
P.J. was hired to be the head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007, a team that featured the likes of rookie Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nick Collison. The team would go 20-62 and re-locate to Oklahoma City. May I note that the 2007-08 team was 27th of 30 in opponents' scoring?
The Oklahoma City Thunder added Russell Westbrook to their 2008-09 campaign, and after a 1-12 start, P.J. was relieved of his coaching duties.
This would leave his coaching record currently (as of January 31, 2013) at 217-301.
P.J., my man, I’m so sorry for having to dig up those numbers, but they make a valid point. Why would the Nets—who parted ways with a coach that has at least reached the NBA finals after a 14-14 start—consider P.J. to be a long-term solution? Clearly, Billy King is focused on winning a championship, more so than he should be at this point.
Billy King is set to have a meeting with Mikhail Prokhorov, who is in town until Friday when the Nets take on Chicago, with Carlesimo also in attendance. While King has told NBA.com that the meeting isn’t strictly regarding the status of P.J., we can all read between the lines.
“I don’t know if a decision (on Carlesimo’s future) is going to be made from there, but I think what we’ll do is sit there and talk about the job he’s done and where we are as a team, but I don’t think there’s a specific timetable where we will go forward and make any other further announcements. We’re just going to continue to evaluate the situation,” King told NBA.com.
Regardless if a decision is made either way, especially looking back at his past, P.J. is enjoying the immediate success and continues to enjoy coaching in the NBA. That’s why I like this guy, he’s humble despite being located in the media capital of the world and facing questions about his employment on a daily basis.
“I will always be grateful to Avery because he gave me the opportunity to come back to the metropolitan area,” Carlesimo said. “And I have to tell you, after all my years of doing this, I am astounded at the reception we’ve gotten in Brooklyn, the way this thing has taken hold. Man, a lot has happened in a year.”
Whether he fits into the plans of Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov remains to be undetermined. But judging by his track record, another unfortunate departure may be in the horizon.
This article was first featured on Atlantic Twine.