Friday, December 14, 2007

General works in a democracy

For a coach and a team that loves to practice, the last four weeks have provided quite a challenge. The Mavericks haven’t had more than one day off since a Nov. 18-19 break.

It won’t let up until a four-day respite starting Dec. 22. Couple the breakneck schedule with the team’s recent haze, and Avery Johnson has taken a serious look at how the team prepares.

“Get a little practice and try to keep the team a little fresh,” he said Friday before facing New Orleans. “We haven’t responded to practice, we haven’t gotten a carryover like we have in the past, so it’s made me take a serious evaluation on how we practice and when we practice. I actually thought we’d be able to practice a little bit more this year, but that may not be the case.”

Johnson came into the season by tweaking the normal routine. One of the changes is more time in the weight room in an effort to keep the team “stronger longer.”

Johnson recently met with trainer Casey Smith to discuss, among other things, when the team lifts. He may consider moving practice times, though this team prefers getting into the gym around noon.

Johnson just doesn’t want to get too radical.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is outfox yourself,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just simple. You don’t have to get too creative.”

And he plans to continue receiving feedback from those who carry out the orders.

“This is not a dictatorship,” Johnson said. “That’s one of the keys. As much as you guys think I’m all hands on and whatever this picture is you’ve painted of me, I do listen to my team.”

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