As I was recently watching NBA TV’s Real Training Camp: Brooklyn Nets, something struck me as being very odd: JASON KIDD as head coach of an NBA club. Not that Kidd, 40, isn’t worthy. The recently retired ten-time All-Star was essentially a coach on the floor during his 18 NBA seasons. But since hearing Kidd would inherit the job previously held by ousted coach PJ Carlesimo back in June, I’ve been scratching my head. Now after seeing Kidd in pre-NBA regular season coaching mode, I think I need a bottle of Head & Shoulders. Check out a mic’d up J-Kidd during Nets Summer League two months ago…
Kidd knows the game. Kidd is passionate about basketball and about being successful. Kidd is definitely a leader. Yet in spite of all this, I question whether the future HOFer has the right tone and temperament to be a successful NBA head coach. Assistant coach Lawrence Frank, who was brought back to the organization to help with Kidd’s coaching transition (and who used to coach Kidd as a player) just looks and acts more like a head coach. Is it just me?
Now watch Coach Kidd as he heads up Nets camp earlier Thursday:
Nothing stands out about Kidd that says he will be an awful head coach. But nothing strikes me as being indicative of his pending success either. Despite his basketball knowledge and obvious respect as a former player, I still view him as an inexperienced coaching figurehead put in place by Brooklyn owner Mikhail Prokhorov to sell tickets and generate more excitement with the Nets.
Is it any surprise that Frank is the highest paid assistant in the league? I think the Nets know if this Kidd experiment doesn’t work, they can fall back on the man that actually coached the team to consecutive NBA Finals appearances. You know, the one that actually has the proven experience and success of being an NBA head coach.
I take nothing away from Jason Kidd. I honestly wish him well in his new coaching venture with the Nets. I’m just of the belief that an individual must earn his way into a top coaching position. That he/she must pay his/her dues first as an assistant. You know…like Brian Shaw did. Here’s a guy who was well overdue before finally winning the head spot with the Denver Nuggets this season.
Kidd’s recent “run-in” with Kevin Garnett over how to best reserve the veteran power forward’s minutes this season may appear to be a minor discrepancy but I believe it accentuates another concern: That Kidd is a rookie head coach with no prior coaching experience. And quite honestly, Kidd’s respect comes from being a player, not a coach. Don’t think that fact wasn’t lost on Garnett.
Regardless, it is Jason Kidd’s job to coach the Nets and to get them to a championship. And that long term plan is a very short one because Pierce and Garnett will be staring retirement in the face real soon.
That means Jason Kidd will have to become a great head coach real soon. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. One thing is certain: We’re gonna find out which real soon.