Saturday, January 26, 2008

Avery Johnson is constant through change

Ask one of his players and he doesn’t notice much of a change. Avery Johnson remains Avery Johnson in this third full season on the job.

“Yeah, he’s still the General,” Jason Terry said when asked about the Mavericks coach.

Johnson, though, believes he’s pulled back some. He continues to demand every ounce of sweat and every second of focus from his group of 15 men. He’s just not dropping the hammer every one of those seconds.

“Just knowing when to push the buttons,” said Johnson, whose Mavs are 29-13 going into Sunday’s showdown against Denver at American Airlines Center.

He wants to push those buttons, and push them hard, every single day. He wouldn’t mind spending hours on end in the practice gym every day. That’s his nature. He freely admits it.

Not everyone is Avery Johnson. Not everyone has Dirk Nowitzki’s work ethic or Jerry Stackhouse’s toughness. Those 15 guys are 15 different people.

“It just doesn’t work like that. That’s what we learned in psychology,” Johnson said, referring to his college degree. “You’ve got a lot of different personalities and everybody needs to be pushed in different ways, even me. You can’t sleep in the office every night. You have to go home some times.

“You learn different things and you mature and you learn different things about coaching.”

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