Get Ready for the Playoffs: 10 Things Nets Newbies Need to Know

P.J. Carlesimo

4) P.J. Carlesimo is the head coach — but it didn’t start that way. The Nets started this season with Avery Johnson at the helm, but a tailspin after a franchise-record 11-4 start landed this team at .500 after 28 games, and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov made the choice to can Johnson midway through his third season. Johnson was replaced by then-assistant P.J. Carlesimo, who had been an NBA coach at three previous stops and is perhaps best known for an infamous incident with former NBA forward Latrell Sprewell, who attacked Carlesimo during a team practice. With Carlesimo at the helm, the Nets finished the season 35-19, a .648 winning percentage — the highest winning percentage of any Nets coach in any single NBA season in franchise history.

Related: Mikhail Prokhorov interrupted a heli-skiing vacation to fire Avery Johnson on Avery’s wife’s birthday.

5) Brook Lopez, the team’s youngest starter and third highest-paid player, was the team’s lone All-Star this season and has been their most consistent player. After spending the better part of a full season dangling Lopez in front of the Orlando Magic in an effort to acquire superstar center Dwight Howard, Lopez responded to a season without trade talk with a breakout season. With season averages of 19.4 points and a tick under seven rebounds per game, his production has barely wavered from month to month, and the team suffers without him in the game: the Nets are 7.6 points per 100 possessions better with him in than out. Here’s what that means: with Lopez in the game, the Nets are better than the 56-26 Memphis Grizzlies. With him out of the game, they’re worse than the 29-53 Washington Wizards.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers — the team that ended up acquiring Howard — took until the last game of the season just to earn a playoff spot.

6) Forward Reggie Evans had a historic season. Along with taking Humphries’s starting spot and having the most efficient beard in Brooklyn, Reggie Evans — already considered the NBA’s best rebounder — is having the best rebounding season of his career. According to Basketball-Reference, Evans grabs 26.7% of all available rebounds when he’s on the floor (the league average is 10%), a career-high and the second-highest mark of all-time, and his defensive rebound rate of 38% — meaning that when Evans is on the floor and the opposing team misses a shot, Evans ends up with the ball 38% of the time — is the highest mark ever in NBA history.

Next: Expectations, The Franchise Player, How the Nets Tried To Fool You, & When The Game’s On The Line

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