When Troy Murphy became a fixture on Avery Johnson’s inactive list at the beginning of the season, he kept his frustration to himself. But as the season has progressed and he still hasn’t found a way to consistently be in the rotation, he has become more and more visibly displeased. The Record’s Pete Caldera talked to Troy yesterday and he does not sound terribly happy:
“I’ve not accepted it, not at all. Nor do I expect to continue it,” Murphy said of his scarce playing time. “I know what I’m capable of. I know I can help this team.”
Meanwhile, Avery continues to be incredibly coy about Murphy:
“Right now, we understand the reasons why,” the coach said, adding that his desire to see Derrick Favors at backup center Sunday opened some minutes for Murphy.
From my perspective, this behavior is one of the things that makes me wary of Johnson as a long-term fixture in this organization. Granted, when Murphy has played, he hasn’t looked very good, which makes it difficult to justify giving him minutes. But Johnson appears to have a very short leash with specific players and appears reluctant to let some of these guys play through it or get a chance to prove themselves on the court. It’s a little reminiscent of the John Calipari era when there was “his” people and then the guys who were dismissed/benched because they didn’t buy into his hype. While a lot of NBA coaches are like this, like Calipari, the problem with Johnson is he doesn’t have enough of a track record of success in this league to be so stubborn. Winning a bunch of games in Dallas is not the equivalent of what Pat Riley or Larry Brown have accomplished in their NBA careers.
Murphy comes across as a good guy, so I hope the Nets find a way to ship him out of here into a situation where he can get regular minutes with a playoff-bound team. As for Johnson, I hope as time goes on, some of his motivations become a little more open. He’s not going to win over the locker room being cryptic with his players. From what I hear, and listening to Murphy talks, it sounds like he’s just been totally iced out of this team. Not good.