Back when Avery Johnson was coaching the Nets—and it seems like it was long ago—he constantly spoke of defense and wanting his team to be one of the top defensive teams in the NBA.
Whether or not those expectations were reasonably considering the Nets roster is debatable, but what is not debatable is the fact that under Carlesimo, the Nets have become one of the NBA’s most potent offenses. It’s odd, and it seemingly happened overnight.
But, it’s true.
Since P.J. Carlesimo has taken over for Johnson, the Nets have gone 6-1 and improved across the board. Their offense, criticized by both players and press, has surged from a methodical 94.5 ppg to 102.9 ppg.
To put that number in perspective, the Knicks average 102.3 ppg through 33 games. The Orlando Magic (12-22) average 94.5 ppg through 34 games. The Knicks are fifth in the NBA in points per game while the Magic, conversely, is 24th. The Nets essentially went from a bottom third team in scoring to a top five unit in the seven games under Carlesimo.
More playing and less thinking.
“When I just go out and play, that’s when I’m at my best,” said Deron Williams, who is averaging 20 ppg and 8.8 apg in the four games in 2013. “The ball’s moving, guys are hitting open shots. It’s more fun that way.”
Does it really matter how good a team is on the defensive end if it’s able to win games with a highly potent offense? We tend to think not… Not until you get to the playoffs, anyway.