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Avery Johnson, Former NBA Head Coach

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2024 6:41 pm

Avery Johnson, Former NBA Head Coach

JR Sports Brief / JR

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January 24, 2024 6:41 pm

Avery Johnson joined JR to discuss his reaction to the Bucks firing Adrian Griffin for Doc Rivers and who the team to beat in the Eastern Conference is. 

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It's the General. It's Avery Johnson. Avery, thank you for taking the time to hop on. Oh man, happy to be with you tonight. Thank you.

Appreciate it very much so. I guess the simple question is, you get rid of Griffin, you now have in a new coach, the players are the same. What's expected of Doc Rivers to move this team towards a championship? Well, I've been talking about this all day on CBS Sports HQ and I'm going to stay consistent.

You know, it's championship or bus. Even though, you know, he's picking up this opportunity after 43 games when a coach went 30 and 13, second in the Eastern Conference, third best record in the NBA, it's championship or bus. They're not bringing Doc Rivers in to slow walk this thing and give Damian Lillard a year or two and see where it goes from there. No, it's about this year.

About this team improving defensively, whatever communication breakdowns that they had behind the scenes, improving the communication, especially with the two stars and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard. If there were any issues with game planning, whatever it is there, Doc Rivers is being hired to solve problems. So he's a problem solver. That's why he's being hired.

That's why they identified him to take on this challenge, especially with half of the season already complete. Avery Johnson is here with us, the JR Sport b-show on CBS Sports Radio with your experience as both a player and a coach. And you've been through this with the Brooklyn Nets. What is going on or what could potentially have gone on behind the scenes that would cause a dismissal like this, especially with the success?

What type of politics isn't the public privy to? Well, when ownership decides that they're going to hire Doc Rivers at this point, which means that now they're paying Adrian Griffin, they're paying Mike Bootenhoser. So you're paying three coaches. And when you're going to go down that route, when you obviously went through the interviewing process with Adrian Griffin, you're prepared to make sure that this got to end well.

This is a new chapter that has been created surprisingly at this point of the season. So this is not necessarily an ownership deal. Historically, when I've seen this happen as a player and as a coach, this is because the players have gone to the front office and shared that we can no longer work with this particular coach. And it's either the coach or us, but we must have a change, a change if we're going to try to reach out for this potential.

Avery Johnson here with us on CBS Sports Radio. We know that there are a few teams that Doc Rivers has coached, whether it be the Boston Celtics sitting at the top of the East. We know the 76ers are right there behind the Bucks right now. We know the Pacers have gone through some changes. The Knicks are looking for help.

How do you think this might have changed how things finish in the East? Well, you know, Boston is still a class for the Eastern Conference. I watched them the other night against the Dallas Mavericks.

I've been watching them all year. You know, they pretty much have a complete team. You know, they have the balance of outside, inside. They can post up Tatum and Brown against certain matchups. Plurzinga stretches the floor for those guys. They can play big with Al Horford on the floor. You know, they've gotten better and better.

And even a second year coach with Joe Mazula, he's gotten better with adding some really experienced assistants in Lee and also Sam Cassell. Really nice home court advantage. So Boston is a really complete team. They've gotten experience from going to the Finals and Eastern Conference Finals over the last four to five years.

So this team is well positioned. I like what Philly's doing right now, especially the way Embiid's playing at another MVP level and the way they turn that James Harden trade into, you know, three good, really solid role players that can help like a Nicholas Batoon. But again, with Milwaukee, if they don't improve defensively, they're not going to go very far. And remember last year what happened with them with the Miami Heat. It was 88-0 the gate in the first round of the playoffs. So there's a lot riding on the shoulders of not just Doc Rivers, but specifically Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, guys that I know probably had some influence of the unfortunate firing of Adrian Griffin. NBA champ, CBS Sports HQ analyst Avery Johnson here.

Final question for you. I want to take a look at the Western Conference. We know we got a lot of young teams sitting at the top.

We do have some experience. We got another former doc-led team, different iteration with the Clippers in the mix as well. What are your thoughts on the West and whose best position to come out of it? Well, to be the champions, you got to beat the champion. And Denver Nuggets is still the class of the Western Conference. I don't care where they finish. They'll finish somewhere in the top four. And I know Minnesota and Oklahoma are the new kind of shiny objects right now in the Western Conference. But those teams don't really have the capability to win multiple playoff series. Maybe they might get lucky in the first round. But when you're talking about Denver Nuggets and teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, those teams right now are built to win multiple playoff series and have a chance to go to the finals. And you still can't sleep on the Lakers.

Obviously, they're in the play-in tournament right now, or they've been kind of going between 10 and 11. But the Lakers, if healthy, we don't know what kind of moves they're going to make around the trade deadline. That'll be another team that you can watch out for. And I think Dallas is probably one more piece away, especially somebody that can help them on the defensive end, because Grant Williams hasn't really lived up to that signing yet. So those are some of the teams that I think are really in play.

And who knows what's going to happen with Golden State? Avery, I want to thank you for sharing your expertise and your experience here with us. Where can people follow you in all your great analysis?

Yeah, I appreciate you asking. I'm on Instagram and Facebook, but I'm Coach Avery Six, the number six. You can follow me there. I'm also on LinkedIn. And I'm on X, I guess it used to be Twitter, Coach Avery Six. So you can follow me on any of those platforms. I've really turned it up in terms of my social media over the last three months.

I think I've gone from 7,000 followers to close to 28,000 followers now and are really some positive messages that I'm sending out there on a daily basis. Well, we appreciate it, Coach. We look forward to checking that out and seeing what happens the rest of the season.

Thank you again. Okay. Looking forward to talking to you maybe after the trade deadline or come playoff time. Hey, let's book it and see what happens. We know the season goes by fast and always a lot of changes. Thank you, Coach. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 20:33:35 / 2024-01-24 20:36:54 / 3

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