/ NBA: Eastern Conference / Kidd Hire Gives The Nets A New “Swag”

Kidd Hire Gives The Nets A New “Swag”

Jeremiah Short on June 14, 2013 - 11:06 am in NBA: Eastern Conference, New Jersey Nets, Uncategorized

Jeremiah Short, Feature Writer

There’s a short list of head coaches who had success having little or no experience as assistants: Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson.

Ainge led the Phoenix Suns to three playoff appearances. The Indiana Pacers made an NBA Finals under Bird’s tutelage. Rivers has established himself as one of the première coaches in league. And after winning eleven championships with two teams( Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers), Phil Jackson is arguably the greatest coach of all time.

With his introduction as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach on Thursday, Jason Kidd hopes to join that select company.

Kidd’s hire is riskier than the aforementioned coaches, though. He retired from the NBA on June 3. Just nine days before becoming the Nets’ coach. One of shortest turnarounds in league history.

Deron Williams, the Nets’ franchise player, has already acknowledged the risk of hiring an inexperienced coach. “Nobody knows if he’s going to be a great coach,” Williams told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “It’s going to take him a couple years to adjust. But at the same time, he could be a great coach off the bat.”

Kidd understands the concerns that Williams and many others share. That’s why he’s reportedly targeting Lawrence Frank, a veteran coach as his lead assistant. (Frank previously coached Kidd from 2004-2008 as the Nets’ head coach.)

Mikhail Prokhorov/ Google Images

Even with his inexperience, Kidd energizes the Nets’ fan base. Fans started a #HelloJKidd hash tag upon hearing that he was named their new coach.

The 10-time all-star also gives Mikhail Prokhorov what he’s coveted for his team since becoming their owner and moving them to Brooklyn: “cachet” and “swag.” His team, not the Knicks, is the talk of New York.

“Despite all the NBA’s competitive potential, they lack a little bit of star coaches,” Prokhorov said. “Of course, we are very glad that now together with our fans we can grow up a new star and finally, naturally, win the NBA.”

Kidd is a big name coach that you don’t have to pay big name money. (Kidd’s deal is reportedly a four-year, $10.5 million dollar deal with $7.5 million guaranteed.)

And for a team that is more known as the team Jay-Z owns has a .067 percent investment in, Kidd will bring them respectability and true public face.

Kidd’s in a unique position. He’s gone from being one of the oldest players in the league to one of the younger coaches, which is not lost on him.

”I’m a rookie. I go from being one of the oldest players in the league to now a rookie coach. I’m very excited about this challenge. We have a special opportunity to achieve a championship-caliber team,” Kidd said at his press conference on Thursday.

Kidd’s just-retired status enables him to relate to his players. He will go from being a peer, friend and rival to their superior.

How will Kidd deal with the role reversal? No one knows.

Kidd has another distinction that other head coaches don’t have in the NBA. He’s the first coach that has played in the “social media” era.

Kidd knows what the players are going through when fans blast them on Twitter after a bad game. He knows how they feel when Kenny, Charles and Shaq rip them on Inside The NBA. And he understands what they are going through when a player’s side-piece exposes them on Instagram.

Left To Right: Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson/Google Images

You’re making some good points and all. But everyone knows that great players don’t make great coaches. Magic Johnson. Elgin Baylor. Willis Reed. Bill Russell. Wes Unseld. Should I keep going?

Concerned Nets fan, you’re points are also valid. But I have to re-phrase your original statement. Physically gifted great players don’t make great coaches. All the players you mentioned were smart players, but they could overwhelm opponents whenever they felt like it.

Kidd was never able to overwhelm opponents on cue. He worked to be a great player.This is the same guy that Gary Payton called Ason when he was younger because he had no J. But he worked to become a great shooter. Even with an improved shot, Kidd never was a proficient scorer. No one ever uttered the words: “J.Kidd might go for 40 tonight.”

So, I don’t think Kidd compares to the great players that have failed. I think he is more like Larry Bird and Lenny Wilkens, who were Hall of Fame players and great coaches. They weren’t freak talents but made the most out of what God gave them.

Ok, cool. I can’t argue with you much there. But doesn’t he have to a DWI case pending. He beat his ex-wife when they were married, too.


That’s the real risk with Kidd. His violent past and struggles with alcohol are cause for concern. Organization value stability. A coach with past and present legal troubles doesn’t scream stability.

Ultimately, Kidd will be judged on his win-loss record. A talented roster should make it easy to put together an impressive one.

The Nets have their own version of a Big Three: Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Williams.

In addition to the Big Three, the Nets have two other starters who are stellar defenders–Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace.

If Kidd can get Kris Kardashian Humphries and MarShon Brooks to play up to their potential, he will have two more pieces at his disposal, as well.

Kidd’s relationship with Williams, who’s got a “coach  killer” reputation, will be the true key to his success. They are good friends. Friends don’t always make the best co-workers.

Can he make it work?

Expectations will be high. But the Nets’ management have to give Kidd time to grow into a difficult role. Learning to make in-game adjustments and managing egos is tough to do when figuring it out on the fly.

If they are patient with Kidd, though, he may bring the organization what eluded him as the Nets’ franchise player: an NBA title.

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