Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Jason Kidd learning coaching on the fly
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Kidd wasn’t used to some of the little details that come along with being a head coach.
Like wearing that thing around his neck during practice, among other tasks.
“I guess holding the whistle might be the weirdest or the gameplan or the practice plan,” Kidd said Wednesday following the Nets’ summer league team practice at the PNY Center, Kidd’s first ever as a coach. “Normally as a player, you are out there competing, trying to win and trying to get better. That was probably was the weirdest part, just holding the whistle this whole practice.”
Kidd likened his current circumstances to a student attending classes in between the spring and fall semesters, using it as a means to receive some advanced tutoring to aid in preparing for the next step.
“It could be a summer school-type situation where I’m learning from one of the best,” Kidd said. “Right now, it’s observing, and giving the input, and understanding and getting comfortable with the coaching aspect.”
Tyshawn Taylor admitted it was a little strange to have Kidd as the team’s new coach so soon after watching what he did against the Nets this past season. Particularly after that game-winning three-pointer Kidd sank in the Knicks’ 100-97 win over the Nets at the Barclays Center Dec. 11.
“I was talking bad about him last year when hit that three on us, and put his foot out and everything,” the second year point guard said, “and now he’s my coach. But it’s cool, man. It’s a different situation that a lot of guys probably aren’t used to. But like I said, he’s natural leader, so he’s comfortable in his role and he make guys feel comfortable around him.”
Kidd, of course, has also been a pitchman for the Nets since free agency officially tipped off Monday. He’s not allowed to comment on any specific player transactions until the NBA’s moratorium is lifted July 10, so he couldn’t delve into any of the moves that have already been made -- including the expected trade bringing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn from Boston.
But Kidd said he’s used to this whole idea of being a team’s salesman, trying to lure prospective players to hop on board.
“As a player, I did the same thing,” he said. “There’s not a big difference. Now, [it’s] just being called a coach. Recruiting is at a premium and hopefully we are doing a good job of it.”
Near the end of practice, Kidd huddled at midcourt with his coaching staff, including top assistant Lawrence Frank. Kidd gushed at the prospect of learning some of the intricacies of coaching from Frank, leaning on him for guidance.
“His strengths, there are a long list of them and hopefully I can pick those up quickly,” Kidd said. “Again, like I said, there’s no dumb question and in trying to understand when to stop a play if someone makes a mistake or do you let them try to figure it out on their own. Those are the situations you try to make your own. So, we are going to go through making mistakes when we don’t blow the whistle or are we going to play.
“So, hopefully guys are patient.”
With the roster they’re assembling, though, there’s not going to be much patience from the Nets‘ fan base -- nor probably from their own. No doubt, Mikhail Prokhorov has upped the ante by approving the trade and pushing the Nets deep into the luxury tax threshold. But Kidd said nothing’s changed.
It’s still NBA title or bust.
“They were always high,” he said of expectations. “As a competitor, you have one goal and that’s to try to win a championship.”
And he’ll be attempting to do just that with a roster filled with notable names. Still, Kidd brushed that off, making it clear it’s not going to be about massaging egos.
“There’s only one name and that’s the Nets,” Kidd said. “That’s a big name, so that’s the way I’m going to coach the guys. It’s about the front of the jersey, not the back.”