Joe Johnson had been philosophical, not angry, about rarely getting to touch the ball in a loss to the Cavaliers a week ago Wednesday night. But coach Tony Brown apparently was not so pleased to see so few attempts for a player whom Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy recently called a potential Hall of Famer. So Brown has effectively made Johnson a point forward.
Johnson never was a point guard, even before he was switched full-time to the frontcourt. But he does have good instincts and savvy. So, with due respect to the development of point guard Donald Sloan, plays will run through Johnson during important stretches.
“Having the ball in his hands to make decisions obviously gives him a better feel on the floor, what to do, what’s available, what passes to make,” Brown said before Johnson lead the Nets with eight assists but also had five turnovers in their 102-98 loss to the Miami Heat Tuesday night. “And obviously give him looks at the rim. I see him more engaged, more into the game, as opposed to being a guy just spotting up on the perimeter and waiting for the ball to find him.”
Bring back the Swamp Dragons
No matter how the Nets’ front-office shuffle ends up, it sure would not hurt the organization if they could find someone like Spoelstra — not Erik, the Heat coach, but his dad Jon, who was the Nets promotion-minded president in the 1990s. Even though the Nets went 30-52 in 1994-95, the elder Spoelstra attracted 16 crowds of 20,000 or more. His staff included a young Brett Yormark, now the Nets CEO.
Jon Spoelstra’s most dramatic plan never reached fruition. He proposed that the name of the team be changed to Swamp Dragons, an idea that was approved, 27-1, by NBA governors. The only dissent came from Nets ownership, which had misgivings and scuttled it.
In a Newsday interview during the Nets-Heat playoff series two years ago, Jon recalled of his basketball-crazy son: “We would have conversations about the game and it was clear I was talking checkers and he was talking chess.”