How do you grade P.J. Carlesimo?
This isn't a rhetorical question. Do you credit him for the team's sudden resurgence with him at the helm? For the players playing with a different, renewed energy? If so, do you then fault him for the inevitable post-bump slide?
Do you fault him for barely changing the system, adding only more pick-and-rolls for Brook Lopez and occasional tweaks throughout his tenure? If so, do you then credit him for not changing too drastically, allowing the team to flourish in an offensive system it had grown accustomed to?
Do you credit him for giving the bench players a longer leash? Do you fault him for leaving Mirza Teletovic in to throw up three consecutive airballs? Do you credit him for his decision to go big, or fault him for his resistance to going small?
Here's what we do know. The Brooklyn Nets have won more games in less time under P.J. Carlesimo than they did under Avery Johnson. They've had an improved offense, albeit without changing many of its principles. They've shown an increased effort level defensively. They've blown out Oklahoma City, beaten a tough Indiana team twice (once without Deron Williams), and the cross-bridge rival Knicks. His brash, intense style has proved a sharp contrast from the differently intense Johnson, and the team has responded to it. The players like him. The front office likes him. He'll almost without question see this team through the end of the season, and he's earned that.
The Nets are far better under Carlesimo than they were under Johnson, even though their November and January months look mostly identical. But how much of that can be accredited to the change to Carlesimo, and how much can be accredited to a change from Johnson?
I'm not sure I hold the answer to that question. I'm not sure anyone does. But the results don't lie; even in the small sample size of 25 games, the Nets have been a substantially better team with him than under Avery Johnson. He deserves credit for that.
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Andray Blatche | Keith Bogans | MarShon Brooks | P.J. Carlesimo | Reggie Evans | Kris Humphries | Joe Johnson | Brook Lopez | Tornike Shengelia | Jerry Stackhouse | Tyshawn Taylor | Mirza Teletovic | Gerald Wallace | C.J. Watson | Deron Williams