Avery Johnson as coach of the Mavericks in 2008
March 25, 1965 |
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Listed height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school||St. Augustine
(New Orleans, Louisiana)
|College||New Mexico JC (1983–1984)
|NBA draft||1988 / Undrafted|
|Number||15, 6, 5|
|1988||Palm Beach Stingrays (USBL)|
|1991||San Antonio Spurs|
|1992–1993||San Antonio Spurs|
|1993–1994||Golden State Warriors|
|1994–2001||San Antonio Spurs|
|2003–2004||Golden State Warriors|
|2004–2005||Dallas Mavericks (assistant)|
|2010–2012||New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||8,817 (8.4 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,751 (1.7 rpg)|
|Assists||5,846 (5.5 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Avery Johnson (born March 25, 1965) is an American retired professional basketball player and former head coach of two National Basketball Association (NBA) teams: the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. He led the Mavericks to their first NBA Finals appearance and four consecutive 50+ win seasons. During his playing days, Johnson was known as the "Little General" for his small (by NBA standards) stature, his leadership skills as a point guard and floor general, and his close friendship with former San Antonio Spurs teammate David "The Admiral" Robinson.
As a high school senior in 1983, Johnson led New Orleans' St. Augustine High School to a 35–0 record and the Class 4A Louisiana State Championship. Johnson matriculated at New Mexico Junior College before moving on to Cameron University, and finally Southern University, with whom in his senior season in 1988 he led NCAA Division I with 13.3 assists per game, a senior and all-time record that still stands. In that season, he also averaged 11.4 points per game, making him the first men's Division I player ever to average double figures in points and assists in the same season—a feat that was not duplicated until Jason Brickman of LIU Brooklyn did so in 2013–14.
After a summer season with the USBL's Palm Beach Stingrays, however, Johnson was signed by the Seattle SuperSonics and spent the next 16 years playing in the NBA, including stints with the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks. A journeyman player, Johnson is best known for his time with the San Antonio Spurs (1991, 1992–1993, 1994–2001), particularly his integral role on the 1999 Spurs team that won the NBA championship against the New York Knicks. Johnson made the championship-winning shot in Game 5. The San Antonio Spurs retired Johnson's number 6 on December 22, 2007 in a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He was also inducted into the "San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame" on February 20, 2009.
On October 28, 2004, Johnson retired from playing and signed as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks under Don Nelson. Johnson had played under Nelson from 2001–2003, and it was understood from the beginning that he was being groomed to eventually succeed Nelson as head coach. His transition from assistant to head coach came five months later on March 19, 2005 after Nelson resigned.
Under Johnson, the Mavericks closed out the 2004–2005 season with a 16–2 run and a first-round playoff victory over the Houston Rockets, before bowing out to the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the playoffs. Johnson was named the April 2005 NBA Coach of the Month, only one month after becoming a head coach for the first time.
The 2005–06 season was even more successful for Johnson and was marked by a series of milestones. In November 2005 Johnson again won the NBA Coach of the Month award (his second and second consecutive, following his award from April the previous season), making him the first NBA coach to win the award in his first two months as a head coach. On January 28, 2006, when the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz, Johnson's record as coach reached 50–12, making Johnson the fastest coach to reach 50 wins. In February 2006, he was chosen to coach the 2006 NBA All-Star team for the Western Conference. Although Johnson ultimately led the Mavericks to the second-best record in the Western Conference, the team entered the playoffs as the fourth seed in the west, due to the structure of the 2006 NBA Playoffs seeding. In April 2006, Johnson was rewarded for this success with the 2006 NBA Coach of the Year Award.
In June 2006, after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, and the Phoenix Suns in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Johnson led the Dallas Mavericks to their first ever NBA Finals appearance. However, the Mavs were defeated in the series by the Miami Heat, losing 4 straight after winning the first two games.
On December 31, 2006, Johnson became the fastest head coach to win 100 games by defeating the Denver Nuggets. This record was later broken by Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls. In the 2006–07 season, Johnson's Mavericks had the best record in the NBA with 67 wins and entered the playoffs as first seed. However, his Mavericks eventually lost to the 8th seed Golden State Warriors, led by former Mavericks head coach Don Nelson, in one of the biggest upsets in recent NBA history.
With his win on November 18, 2007, against the Grizzlies, Johnson became the fastest coach to reach 150 wins. Following the 2007–2008 season, the Mavericks under Johnson were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. A day later, on April 30, 2008, Johnson was dismissed as head coach of the Mavericks.
In 2013, Johnson rejoined ESPN to appear on NBA Coast 2 Coast, NBA Tonight and SportsCenter.
New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets
On June 10, 2010, Johnson was hired as head coach of the New Jersey Nets, who went 12–70 during their 2009–10 campaign. He remained with the Nets when the team moved to Brooklyn in 2012. He was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November 2012 following an 11-4 start. Johnson was fired as head coach of the Nets on December 27, 2012, when the team had a 14-14 record. He was replaced by then assistant P. J. Carlesimo.
Johnson and his wife Cassandra have two children, Avery Jr. and Christianne. 
Head coaching record
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win-loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win-loss %|
|DAL||2004–05||18||16||2||.889||2nd in Southwest||13||6||7||.462||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|DAL||2005–06||82||60||22||.732||2nd in Southwest||23||14||9||.609||Lost in NBA Finals|
|DAL||2006–07||82||67||15||.817||1st in Southwest||6||2||4||.333||Lost in First Round|
|DAL||2007–08||82||51||31||.622||4th in Southwest||5||1||4||.200||Lost in First Round|
|NJN||2010–11||82||24||58||.293||4th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
|NJN||2011–12||66||22||44||.333||5th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
- List of National Basketball Association players with 1000 games played
- List of National Basketball Association career assists leaders
- List of National Basketball Association players with most assists in a game
- List of NCAA Division I men's basketball players with 20 or more assists in a game
- PDF (4.57 MiB); retrieved August 13, 2007
- Darcy, Kieran (March 1, 2014). "Jason Brickman earns 1,000th assist". ESPNNewYork.com. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
- ESPN – Mavs, Johnson part ways after team's playoff ouster – NBA
- MAVERICKS: Avery Johnson dismissed as coach
- MAVERICKS: Official release: Mavericks relieve Avery Johnson of coaching duties
- "Struggling Nets fire head coach Johnson". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive. December 27, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012.
- Family never far from Johnson's mind. Retrieved on June 22, 2011.
- Avery Johnson Coach Profile at NBA.com
- Avery Johnson Stats at ESPN.com
- Avery Johnson NBA Coaching Record at Basketball-Reference.com
- Avery Johnson NBA Statistics at Basketball-Reference.com