It has been my experience that when a new coaching staff takes over a team, they like to change everything, and that’s a given. However, one of the smaller changes that usually goes unnoticed are the signs around the practice facility. When Kiki took over for Lawrence Frank it happened, and it seems to happen anytime a new staff takes over. Each coach has their own message, style, and system and you can tell a lot by what type of messages and signs they plaster the practice facility with. It may seem cheesy, but the coaches (and some of the players) really love this stuff.
So when I entered the PNY Center today and stepped on the practice court where the Nets would be holding media day, I quickly scanned the walls looking for new posters or signs. I wasn’t disappointed.
This one is hanging over the entrance to the training/locker room and it reads “Defensive FG% = 44%” It is obviously a goal for the Nets, and it lets you know what Avery Johnson is focusing on this year, and that is defense. A quick scan of HoopData tells us that only two teams were able achieve this goal last year (Miami and Orlando) and the Nets were 27th in this category (48.1%). Avery wants to see his guys put pressure on the basketball and force misses.
These next two were on the same wall as the “Defensive FG%” sign, and again it shows you a what Avery will be preaching to his guys all year.
The words “Get Better” are painted over the entrance to the wait room, and it is there as to remind the players what their goal is as they enter the weight room.
This sign hangs opposite of the others, and is the first thing that you see as you enter the practice facility. I think that this is the strongest message that Avery wants to get across, and rightfully so. Trust was a big issue last year, players didn’t trust their defensive systems (a ton of poor rotations were due to lack of trust), players didn’t trust their teammates, and players didn’t trust their coaches. For a team to be successful, players need to trust each other and everyone around them. Avery is trying to get this team to understand this early before the season even starts.
Under that, there for letters that read “K W T P” Fred Kerber offered up the guess “Keep Working Towards Professionalism” but even after that coach Johnson wouldn’t spill the beans:
One thing is obvious, the new staff is here and are determined to make their style known any way possible.