Matt Moore, guest writing at NBA Fanhouse, has a fantastic, must-read breakdown of everything that is wrong with Avery Johnson’s decision to “punish” Terrence Williams by sending him to the D-League. Here are a few highlights:
Trapping the player in the D-League forces him to deal with the D-League conditions (low travel budgets, lack of staff, lesser accommodations), and that’s not supposed to be the intent of the league. The D-League is a place to get players floor time, to work with them on specific parts of their game that they need to improve on in order to become NBA-caliber players, to fix kinks in their game and regain confidence. It’s not meant as a lesser environment to send players down to punish them because you don’t get along with them.
The Nets just got through showing a great commitment to understanding the importance of the D-League in acquiring the basketball operations of the Armor in 2011-2012. Now they’ve just shown they didn’t learn from an earlier mistake in using the D-League as a prison with Sean Williams (an experiment which failed miserably), and now appear as if all they’ve done is buy themselves a $250,000 timeout corner. How are you going to get future players to commit to a long-term development plan in this system you’ve afforded yourself if your assignment legacy is one of a wrist slap by sending the player down to the D-League?
I can’t repeat enough how great of a read this is from Moore. When I was personally dissecting this TWill debacle yesterday, I honestly was looking at this with any sensitivity towards the mission of the D-League. After reading some of the points Moore made, I can’t see how this move does anything to help the Nets. It’s a power play from Avery Johnson pure and simple, who despite not technically being the team’s GM, is clearly the one calling the shots here, not Billy King. I’m starting to doubt that this “demotion” will have any kind of positive affect on TWill and after discovering that in a few weeks, my guess is TWill is either bought out, or traded for pennies on the dollar. If Avery Johnson wants to act the dictator and this team starts winning, then as a fan, you deal with it. But if he’s going to alienate players and misuse the NBA’s developmental tools and the team continues to be a joke … well, let’s just say to Mikhail Prokhorov that fans aren’t going to fill an arena in Brooklyn just to watch an egomaniac coach.