Mike D’Antoni goes out the door earlier, now Mavericks coach Avery Johnson has gotten the boot after two successive first-round playoff exits in Dallas.
I get the sense the Mavericks never really recovered from the Dwyane Wade Rules in 2006. The run-up to the best record the next season in order to make the run back to the Finals easier only killed them when they ran into a Golden State team that exploited all their weaknesses, including a franchise player in Dirk Nowitzki who was never able or willing to get down and dirty in the post in a way that would take over a game at any time in the playoffs.
The writing was on the wall when Devin Harris was traded away for Jason Kidd; it was win now or you’re done, and Johnson is done in Dallas. I wonder how much of that trade was Johnson’s; if it was made with much of his input, then the dismissal is even less of a surprise.
It’s telling that he canceled a practice and the players decided to practice on their own, a sign that the team had been lost and that his tactics no longer worked for his players. But his ability to lead that team to the Finals two years ago do speak well of him as a coach; it’s tough to get there, never mind win.
Like D’Antoni, he’ll get another job: if you’re a playoff coach, there’s always going to be a team looking to make the playoffs that wants you.
Dallas Mavericks fire Avery Johnson [Dallas Morning News]