The addition of P.J. Carlesimo to the Nets’ coaching staff is a fantastic move. Not only will New Jersey’s sidelines have a familiar face, the former Seton Hall coach brings added diversity and NBA head coaching experience to a relatively inexperienced staff. Carlesimo, along with New York City native and former NBA player Mario Elie, were introduced as Avery Johnson’s new assistants during a press conference Tuesday.
The coaching moves come as no surprise to Nets insiders. Carlesimo and Elie have grown closer to the organization in the past few months and during the lockout, and their addition to the Nets was only a formal introduction away. And as the Nets look to climb up the ranks in the Eastern Conference, both coaches bring different elements to the team.
Of course, everyone knows the baggage that Carlesimo has. He was the target of the well-known Latrell Sprewell attack in 1997, an incident that cast a shadow on the careers of both the player and coach. It’s been documented, too, that Carlesimo has a short fuse and isn’t exactly a people person. But supposedly the five years he spent as Greg Popovich’s assistant has changed his outlook.
You can’t ignore the fact that Carlesimo knows his hoops. His overall NBA coaching record (204-296) is less than spectacular, but his philosophies and disciplinarian style will complement Johnson. He is defensive-minded, something that the Nets need to instill in their players. In 2010-11, the Nets surrendered more than 100 points per game. Carlesimo will undoubtedly try to fix that.
Elie has been one of Johnson’s most trusted colleagues for several years. The two were teammates on the San Antonio Spurs, and Elie served as an assistant while Johnson coached in Dallas. Elie’s main duties will be to work with the team’s backcourt players, particularly Marshon Brooks, the rookie out of Providence.
With Johnson, his first mate Carlesimo, Elie and holdovers Ron Popeye Jones, Tom Barrise and Doug Overton, the Nets now have one of the better coaching staffs in the conference. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez will serve as the staff’s extension on the court, meaning things are looking brighter and brighter for this franchise.
The key, now, for Johnson and company will be luring more talent to Jersey and ultimately Brooklyn.