Hey, more JustAnotherRanting. Anything look different? Well, it's the text. I couldn't use my ComicSans because the Font Style drop-down isn't there right now. Anyway...
Today, right before I went to TPC Legends (All Sports Run by the Best) to rant, I checked ESPN.com. Avery Johnson has been fired as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Here's where the ranting begins.
Those of you who haven't been living under a rock for more than a decade should know who Avery Johnson is. If you have Showtime: NBA on NBC for the old Playstation he is a player on the San Antonio Spurs and was still playing in 2002. But the Playstation moved on to (eventually) the Playstation 3, and Avery Johnson moved on to become a NBA coach.
He landed in Dallas. In is time at Dallas, he has had a .735 winning percentage as the head coach. That is the same as 73.5%. If I'm not mistaken that is about 60 wins a year, and the regular season is only 82 games long. And guess what? ESPN.com reports that out of all coaches coaching right now that has gone through 250 games, that is the best percentage out there.
Not only has he had a good clip in the winning category, but A.J. has also had some success in the postseason. Just two years (and $3 a gallon of gas) ago, he did coach his team to the NBA Finals. He also gained a 2-0 lead in those Finals. Yes, he did end up losing the round, but hey, look at all the teams that just dream of making it that far.
I'll admit that the postseason may be why he got fired. Once again, for all of you people that have been living under a rock, last year the Mavericks had an amazing season, going 67-15. Just so you know, Michael Jordan's Invincibulls had 72 wins. So Avery wasn't too far away from Phil Jackson back in the day. But after the regular season, the Mavericks were shocked (as number one seeds) in the first round by the West's worst seed, the Golden State Warriors led by Baron Davis.
This year, they were the number 7 seed. They had to face Chris Paul's New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets aren't the team they were back in their days in Charlotte; they've gotten a lot better. Who really thought Dallas had a shot in this series anyway?
So now that it's all said and done, let's look at the stats. In the regular season, Avery's teams have gone a combined 194-70. This is the NBA, it's not like that's easy to get. It isn't college where you can be a powerhouse playing the nobodies every game. Johnson did go 23-24 in the playoffs, but you have to cut this guy some slack.
Now let's look at Mark Cuban. Even people who have lived under a rock for a decade should know who he is. To some people he could be the Terrell Owens of GM's. You either love him or you hate him. Right now, you might hate to be him. His team has just lost in the first round of the last 2 playoffs, and he just gave up one of the best coaches out in the market. Who else will he get that can get 60 wins a year?
So anyway, I know the Mavs lost again, and Cuban could be angry. But for the love of...basketball, please don't fire Avery! Get a stress toy if you have to! What is going on through this guy's head? It's not like Avery doesn't know how to get to the Finals. He's been there before. Johnson can get those wins in the regular season. Those wins fill up seats and gets fans hyped for the postseason. Isn't that what Cuban wants?
Also, Mark Cuban should step outside the box and look inside. Some of this could be his fault, couldn't it? Before the Mavericks made a blockbuster trade, getting Jason Kidd out of New Jersey, the Dallas Mavericks had a 35-18 record. After they got rid of their young point guard Devin Harris for Kidd, Kidd didn't meet expectations and the Mavs stumbled to a post-trade record of 16-13 to finish the season.
Doesn't Cuban have anything to do with this Kidd trade? If he does, he should be kicking himself for making this happen. Wasn't Kidd aging and slowing down? Would he actually get those points that the team will need? Isn't Harris their future?
Here's another thing. I know Avery Johnson was a NBA player, but that doesn't mean he wins or loses the games he coaches now. The players win or lose the games. He can tell them what to do when and where, but he can't make them do it. He can scream as much as he wants, he could use up 5 Sharpies a game on his clipboard, but that's the most he can do. The players shoot the ball, Johnson doesn't. The players get the boards and play defense, A.J. just calls the shots.
Maybe Cuban has to make roster changes instead of personell changes. Speaking of personell changes, maybe it's the assistants? It's funny that when players win games, they get a lot of credit. But when they lose games it's always the head coaches.
We've seen this before, too. In the NFL two years ago Marty Schottenheimer was fired by the San Diego Chargers for doing bad in the post season. And we all know it's because of the playoffs; the Chargers went 14-2 and ended the regular season on a ten-game winning streak. It doesn't seem like that really helped, though. San Diego didn't really do too much this post-season either.
So why do all of the coaches get the heat when their team fails to show up in the playoffs? That's a good question, and I really don't have a good answer. It's the players job to win the games. The coaches tell them how to. And if they win all of those regular season games, obviously the coaches did their job.
Hopefully Mark Cuban learns from his mistakes. Because throwing out a coach like this is a big one, and it can lead to the beginning of the end of the Mavericks stretch of dominance in the West.