There is a clock, at One Hanson Place, that stares down on the Barclays Arena. As I rode by the arena I could not help the feeling that the clock forty floors above the home of the Brooklyn Nets, was telling me that P.J. Carlesimo’s time was running out.
Since he became interim coach, he has guided the team over 500. winning percentage through injuries, the pressure of New York City, new arena, and those New York Knicks on the other side of the Hudson. Yet somehow I feel that the Net organization, that spent so much on this team, will not be ready to make a commitment until after the playoffs.
Just last year the word,” interim”, was as sweet smelling as walking into any Macy’s perfume department for Coach Woodson. Quite possibly it was the stale stench of defense from D’antoni. Now for Carlesimo, the word is like a dirty secret that should never be shared with your girlfriends parents over dinner.
In March there is always time, but he has got to get the Nets to the fourth seed in the playoffs to assure himself the head coaching job. Here are a few observations why and the consequences.
1.By getting the fourth seed the Nets will have home court advantage and the best chance to advance to the second round. Though they will be playing the toughest seeding, even if the put up a good fight and lose, they will be able to build from the experience and management must give Carlesimo at least two years to win a championship.
2.If they get the fifth spot, and no home court advantage, then the Nets must win against their opponent for any chance of Carlesimo to return. If they lose then expect an announcement after the finals that he will be replaced.
3.If they get the sixth or seventh seed you can expect the Net organization to cringe with fear, which would not be the best scenario for Carlesimo, because they would most likely play their rivals, the Knicks. Splitting the season series with the Gotham Knights helped the fans establish this Net team as equally talented in the biggest basketball city. If they lost to the Knicks, everything that the organization built and represented would be tarnished except the Jay-Z concerts prior to the Barclays opening. Brooklyn fans would call for someone’s blood, the Borough President, Marty Markowitz, may have to give free counseling along Flatbush Avenue, and the Nets would need a new face to forget the tragic loss. On the other hand they could win, and the Nets would announce his job safety before the next series. Still, the risks do not outweigh the benefits.
4.If they get the eight seed which seems to be a lock for Millwaukee, then the question will be, how did they fall so fast? This will reward them with a visit to Miami and a possible sweeping of Biblical proportions.
Hopefully, Coach Carlesimo can look up in the sky next year this same time and the clock will tell him to get back to work.