Tool Of The Week: Avery Johnson

Ken MalkowskiContributor IJune 11, 2010

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Avery Johnson of the Dallas Mavericks during play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 28, 2007 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the first and last installment of "Tool Of The Week," Avery Johnson wins in a landslide. I know what you are thinking. Sure, his unnecessary mouth movements are reminiscent of a badly dubbed kung fu movie -- BUT -- he seems like a good guy, certainly not a tool. 

I would normally agree with this sentiment, I personally like his comments and analysis.

But this recent exchange at 1:40 made me rethink this assessment. As an ESPN analyst, supposedly with objective basketball analysis, Avery actually said that New Jersey was the best fit for Lebron James. Yes, the worst team in all of basketball, the laughingstock of the NBA, was the best fit for the King.

Avery was the only analyst, commentator or human being to make such a suggestion. Mainly because it was nuts and perhaps because there was something in it for him.

I saw that clip live on ESPN awhile ago -- and as soon as I saw it I knew Avery was at least in talks with the Nets. No disinterested or objective analyst would entertain the idea that the team with the worst record was the best place for a player who values winning above all else.

So it came as no surprise that this week Johnson was indeed named the head coach of the Nets. Rod Thorn stated he "thought long and hard" about naming Johnson -- making it more probable Johnson was in some kind of discussions with the Nets.

Perhaps it's not a big deal, but something about it rubs me the wrong way. Journalistic integrity doesn't seem to be as highly valued in the sports world as it is in general -- if a writer for a large newspaper colored thier stories to get a political job for instance, there would be an uproar and dishonor for the guilty party.

Maybe the bottom line here is that we should take the analysis of former players and coaches who could be looking for thier next job with a grain of salt.