Avery Johnson was relieved of his coaching duties from the Dallas Mavericks within 24 hours of the team's dismal playoff series lost to the New Orleans Hornets.
Johnson is the eighth coach in team history. Since 2005, he coached the Mavericks to a record of 194-70 (.735) during the regular season.
He led the team to the playoffs for four consecutive years, including a trip to the Finals in 2006. His postseason record is only 23-24 (.489) and includes 12 losses in the last 15 games.
Johnson was known as a true floor general in his days as the starting point guard with the San Antonio Spurs.
With other natural leaders such as David Robinson, Naval Academy Graduate, and Mario Elie, currently on Dallas's coaching staff, Avery emerged as the leader. His voice demanded respect and his actions unquestionable.
He has garnered accolades and awards such as Coach of the Year, fastest to reach 150 wins, coached the Western Conference in the All Star Game and leading Dallas to a franchise best 67 wins among others.
So the question one asks is why. Why now?
Well as many basketball fans know, now is the main point for every team that wins 50 games. Now is the time.
Jason Kidd came to Dallas in hopes to get the franchise over the hump and win a title. Yet, it did not happen.
It didn't because of the conflict of styles between Jason Kidd and Avery Johnson. Kidd is a fast break running, back screen passing point guard. He is not known for his shooting or for performing in the clutch.
Kidd is great for his ability to pass between the seams and make the game easier for other players out on the floor with him.
Avery Johnson's coaching style is more defense-oriented and he preaches a more half-court offensive set.
With Jason Kidd's career in the twilight, he cannot afford to slow the game down and grind on every possession. It’s not that Kidd doesn't want to play defense, it is that he isn’t at a point in his career where he should be utilized the most in that sense of offensive preference.
With the arrival of Kidd, if the Mavericks didn’t reach the Finals, either he or Johnson would have been shown the door.
Mark Cuban chose Johnson. The decision makes sense as his playoff record as a head coach is nowhere near his regular season record.
Kidd and the Mavericks have no excuse for next year. Their goal can’t be to just make it to the Finals, but to win a championship.
If they don’t, Mark Cuban will be thinking and rethinking about letting one of the best young coaches in the league go.