Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Defense first: Avery Johnson or Rick Carlisle?
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Jason Kidd only played a few months under Avery Johnson in the spring of 2008, but he's certain that the defensive mentality that has stamped the Mavericks as a top-five defensive team starts and ends with Rick Carlisle.
ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon takes on Randy Galloway's opinion that Avery Johnson's influence is still on the Mavericks.
Asked what Avery influences remain nearly four years after Mark Cuban fired him following the 2008 first-round playoff loss to New Orleans and Kidd said: "I don’t know. I think it’s a different team, it’s a team that now has been in the top five in defense, which when you talk about Dallas it always was about scoring, so I don’t think there’s not too much of Avery still here. Carlisle has put his stamp on this team and it has helped us win a championship."
Carlisle took a much more diplomatic approach, saying point-blank that Johnson changed the culture in Dallas from one of free-spirited offense to a focus on gritty defense.
"There’s no confusion, Avery changed it and he changed it when he took over in 2005," Carlisle said. "And he got this franchise on a path to a championship by instilling a playoff style of basketball, which meant defense first and then, of course, you’ve got to be a good offensive team as well, but there’s no confusion on that and that should be made very clear."