Jason Kidd's task of balancing Deron Williams' playing time continued Tuesday night as the Nets' point guard continues to work off the rust.
Since he didn't start practicing full contact until the final week of the preseason and only played in Brooklyn's preseason finale, Williams' body has been playing catch-up these past two weeks. That's a big reason why the Nets, knowing they purposely kept it slow with Williams as he nursed a sprained right ankle and bone bruise, still have their minutes restriction attached to their floor general.
Williams averaged 25.3 minutes during the season's initial three games, a number that didn't change much in the Nets' 104-88 blowout win over his old team from Utah Tuesday night. "For Deron, this is preseason training camp," Kidd said. "He didn't get to do a lot in the regular training camp or preseason, and so, we have to figure out how to get him [going] without running him out there for 35 minutes and then he can't play the next night."
With his two-game suspension behind him and his official coaching debut in the rearview mirror, Kidd said he's becoming more at ease.
One thing he's noticed so far? There's not much disparity in getting to know a player when he was one of them as opposed to trying to connect with them as a coach. "Player-to-player, if you are real and you can digest the truth, it's just as if it's a coach telling you," Kidd said. "So it's the person receiving the information. Can he digest the truth? Can he accept it and can he get better from it? That's the way I'm going about my coaching, as if I was a player telling them what I see, and being honest and being real."
"As a player they trusted me, so it shouldn't be any different as a coach."
R.J. reflects on J.K.
Richard Jefferson had nothing but love for Kidd, the guy he played with so many seasons in New Jersey. Jefferson was on the receiving end of several of Kidd's highlight reel passes and credits Kidd for making things easy for him on the court.
"I complemented him, trust me," Jefferson said. "When they knew they were going to get Jason Kidd, they got guys who they knew would complement the way he played. There were many years when he was the best point guard in the league and quite possibly the best player on the planet. Not many guys in this league have been able to dominate multiple games without scoring. When he did score, it was just a bonus and just about a given that we were going to win the game.
"We complemented each other, but he was my mentor. He was a guy I listened to, every single word for seven years. I tried to take in as much as I could. Without him, I probably wouldn't have played in this league as long as I have."
Still, things are a bit different now that Kidd is wearing a suit and tie rather than sneakers.
"He's the rookie and I'm the vet," Jefferson said. "I kind of enjoy that."