New York Nine: The Coaches (7/23/11)

9) Peter DeBoer

DeBoer was just hired a few days ago. Let’s see if he can lead the Devils back to glory.

8) Jack Capuano

The Islanders had a nice little surge in the second half of last year, but Capuano and the Isles have proven nothing as of yet.

7) Mike D’Antoni

See Fire Mike D’Antoni.

6) Avery Johnson

He won the Coach of the Year in 2006, he made an NBA Finals appearance in 2006, and he had the guts to take over a sinking ship with the Nets. There’s not much not to like about Avery Johnson. I just wish he’d stop starting Stephen Graham.

5) Terry Collins

I really like what Terry has brought to the Mets this year, but let’s see how the Mets finish out the season. Collins’ real test will be next year, when he should theoretically have a better roster to work with, although I don’t think that will be the case at all.

4) Tom Coughlin

People are going to disagree with me for putting Coughlin this low, but I strongly feel he is the most overrated coach in New York. Under Coughlin, the Giants have often been good, but they’ve rarely been great. In seven seasons, Coughlin has only won four playoff games. Rex Ryan has won four playoff games in two years with a franchise that isn’t supposed to win anything.

Spin it any way you want, but his track record isn’t good when you’re talking about coaching what is supposed to be an elite franchise. Sure, he helped the Giants win Super Bowl 42, but he’s yet to win a playoff game any other year. Not only that, he’s let his team completely collapse over the past two seasons. Elite coaches aren’t supposed to let that happen.

Coughlin has also lost his players’ respect. His old-school style has caused players such as Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle to say they’d rather play for Rex Ryan. Not to mention the whole Osi Umenyiora fiasco that has gone on during the past few seasons. But perhaps Coughlin’s biggest mistake was essentially pushing Tiki Barber out the door. It’s safe to say that Tom isn’t exactly a guy that players are dying to play for.

3) Joe Girardi

Joe has been dealt a pretty easy hand in managing the greatest sports franchise in the world, but he’s done a pretty good job. Joe Torre was a pitiful manager in his last few years, and Girardi has undone his errors by doing things such as actually managing the bullpen. He also was the Manager of the Year in 2006 with the Marlins, proving he’d be great anywhere.

2) John Tortorella

Tortorella has yet to win a playoff series, but the Rangers have been an extremely competetive team the past two and a half seasons. He’s led the Blueshirts through injuries, controversies, and flat-out poor play. His fiery style makes him the perfect coach the lead the Rangers to the promised land in the near future. He’s also won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay, which is certainly a positive thing.

1) Rex Ryan

Rex took over a team that was supposed to be in a rebuilding mode and turned them into perennial contenders. In his first two seasons, Ryan made the playoffs twice and won a total of four playoff games. Under his guidance, the Jets should be Super Bowl contenders every year in the near future.

Did we miss anyone?  Is there someone we should have ranked higher or lower?  Leave us feedback here or on Facebook/Twitter.

Rex Ryan has turned the Jets into perennial Super Bowl contenders.

Josh Smith Would Like to Play for the Nets

Josh Smith is apparently on the trade market.  The Hawks are curious to see what they could get in return for Smith.   Smith said that he would prefer to play for the Celtics, Nets, Magic, or Rockets.  Smith is a good friend of Dwight Howard’s so it would make sense for the Nets and Magic to show interest in acquiring Smith.

For the Nets this off-season is all about acquiring players to put around Deron Williams.  The Nets need to prove to Williams that they trying to put a winning product on the court.  Acquiring a guy like Josh Smith would send a good signal to Deron.  Smith is only 25 years old, and he has a great combination of offensive and defensive skills.  Acquiring Smith may also give the Nets an edge in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.  If Howard and Smith are truly as great of friends as the above article makes them out to be, Howard may pressure the Magic to deal him to the Nets so he could play with Smith and Williams.

Could Smith and Howard join Deron Williams in New Jersey and eventually in Brooklyn?

Avery Johnson likes Thaddeus Young

The Nets will have plenty of cap space for free agency, although this year’s crop isn’t as prolific as the last and, conceivably, the next. One player who should garner their attention is Philadelphia forward Thaddeus Young, a restricted free agent after this season, who dominated the Nets on Friday by scoring 22 points on 9-of-12 from the field.

Even before Young’s standout performance in Philadelphia’s 115-90 victory, coach Avery Johnson was gushing about the 22-year-old. He’s not on the level of New Jersey’s 2012 target, Dwight Howard, but he’s the type of versatile forward the Nets are missing (and thought they were getting with Travis Outlaw).

“If (Young) didn’t have the type of year he’s had, I don’t think the (76ers) would be a playoff team,” Johnson said. “He’s kind of the MVP of the team.”

The 76ers will likely extend an offer sheet to Young and try to match whatever else surfaces, but are in a tough spot because he plays behind Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala and their big contracts. Both Brand and Iguodala are signed through the 2012-13 season. Young was the subject of trade rumors before the February deadline seems intrigued by free agency.

“In order to find out what I’m worth, it’s a must,” he said. “You have to find a team in order to get paid being a restricted free agent.”

I think Young would be a great fit, but what would you do with Outlaw?  I think his contract has to be moved before you sign someone like Young.  With Damion James needing minutes as well, I’d package a first round pick with Outlaw just to get rid of his contract.  At 22 years old, Thaddeus could stick with the Nets for a while.  He could be the answer at SF, leaving PF and SG the only real positions of concern for the Nets.  David West could fill the hole at the four.

For more on rebuilding the Nets, click here.

Young would be a nice fit, although he may be hard to snag away from Philly.

Watch D-Will Tonight at 8:30

D-Will makes his Nets debut tonight agaisnt the Spurs

Nets-Nuggets Deal in Works

As you might have heard by now the New Jersey Nets and the Denver Nuggets are seriously discussing a trade in which the Nuggets will trade Chauncey Billups, Melvin Ely, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman for what the Nets are calling a bargain. The Nets have tentatively agreed to give the Nuggets Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, and Ben Uzoh, along with a lifetime supply of first-round picks. What many people do not know are the things the Nets have offered off the court.

  • Mikhail Prokorhov says if Nuggets Owner Walter Kroenke is ever in Russia he can crash at his Russian palace.
  • The New Jersey Devils
  • Brook Lopez would have to go with Nuggets head coach George Karl to the supermarket in case he needs something on the top shelf.
  • Keith Van Horn
  • 15 percent off a full tank of gas at any Newark area Exxon station.
  • Avery Johnson’s legs
  • Marv Albert

If you ask me I think the Nets are committing highway robbery if this deal goes through.

Oh and I almost forgot, the Nets would receive Carmelo Anthony.

Breaking News: Nets Re-Enter Melo Talks

Ready for a twist?  The Nets are back in the Carmelo Anthony trade discussions according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Al Iannazzone.  As more details break, we’ll get them to you as fast as we can.  Here is Woj’s latest article on the situation.  Remember to follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.

UPDATE: Al Iannazzone was just on the YES Network.  He said he wouldn’t be surprised if both parties sat down over the weekend if things get close.  He also believes, to no one’s surprise, that Troy Murphy will be moved.  He expects the Nets to be very active at the deadline, possibly moving some of their draft picks.

I Was Wrong About the Nets

Original article

Back in August, I foolishly predicted the Nets would make the playoffs.  I honestly thought they’d be a very good team that could compete for a lower seed in the playoffs.  I figured adding Avery Johnson was about a five win bonus, a healthy Harris would light the league up, and Derrick Favors was the next superstar.  I was completely wrong, as even Brook Lopez has struggled this season.  Here’s what I had to say:

The Nets are my pick to play the role of the dark horse for this year’s NBA seasons. Many people say the Nets did not improve in the offseason, but that is a complete fallacy. The bottom line is that the Nets didn’t have to acquire a max free agent to get better. Their youth and potential already makes them a better team. Under a new head coach in Avery Johnson, this team could grow into a playoff contender. Acquiring role players such as Travis Outlaw, Troy Murphy, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, and Quinton Ross can’t hurt either. Combine that with a great draft, and you have a real solid offseason.

While the team did get better, they completely struck out in free agency.  The only real good player out of the five I mentioned above is Anthony Morrow.  I also wouldn’t call their draft great, it was average at best.  Favors still has the potential to be a star, but Damion James has yet to contribute because of injuries.

PG: Devin Harris/Jordan Farmar/Ben Uzoh

I got this right, but it was obvious at the time.

SG: Terrence Williams/Anthony Morrow/Quinton Ross

Terrence Williams was traded in an extremely lopsided trade in the Nets’ favor.  Somehow Stephen Graham has been starting, but who the hell knows what is going through Avery Johnson’s mind.

SF: Travis Outlaw/Damion James/Quinton Ross

Would be about right if Damion James was healthy, but Outlaw could move back to the bench sooner than later.

PF: Troy Murphy/Derrick Favors/Kris Humphries/Sean May

May didn’t make the team and Murphy hasn’t played in a long time.  Humphries is now the starter and Favors gets backup minutes.

C: Brook Lopez/Johan Petro/Brian Zoubek

Correct, but Zoubek didn’t make the team.

That certainly is not a bad squad. Make no mistake about it, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez are young stars. Lopez may be the most coveted young center in the league. If Derrick Favors can develop into the next Chris Bosh, the Nets will have a tantalizing front court duo. For now, Troy Murphy will do.

The squad is pretty bad and Troy Murphy has been a disaster.

But what about the corner positions? I truly believe Terrence Williams is ready to start opening night and contribute. Williams has the potential to be a really special player in the NBA. If he can build on his second half from last season, he should be exciting to watch. And to back him up, Anthony Morrow may be the NBA’s greatest three-point shooter of all-time. Yes, you heard me right. After nine more attempts, Morrow will qualify to lead the league in all-time three-point percentage.

Terrence Williams found himself in the D-League at one point.  Morrow is turning out to be a solid player,  however.

Small forward is a bit of concern, but Travis Outlaw is still a solid player. I was a huge critic of the deal he received, but there is no doubt that this kid can ball. He takes too many stupid three-pointers, but hopefully he becomes a smarter player under Avery Johnson. Talking to a few Clippers fans, I have heard that Outlaw takes ridiculous fadeaway three-pointers that will make you shut off the game. Hopefully they are just over exaggerating.

Outlaw is anything but solid, the Clipper fans were dead on.

What will be the biggest difference between the 2009-2010 and the 2010-2011 Nets? Leadership. Avery Johnson is a real head coach. He will give the Nets something to fight for every night. I truly can see Brook Lopez and Devin Harris stepping up as locker room leaders as well. For a young team, leadership and chemistry are important issues. I believe this team will have both.

Pretty much every Net fan hates Johnson right now.  That could change if the team gets better, but who knows when that will be.