EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Kidd's main task in his first season as the Nets' coach mirrors that same mentality he had when he was traded to the Nets in 2001.
"I think the identity," Kidd said Tuesday when asked what he wants to change within the Nets. "I think it was just vanilla and I think you guys can see after the trade with [Kevin] Garnett and [Paul] Pierce that it's kind of changed. So I think we're doing the right thing with changing the identity. It was just there was no flavor and no identity. So with that trade, that changes the whole game."
The Nets won 49 games and finished as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference in their inaugural season in Brooklyn, only to go belly up in their first-round playoff series against the Bulls. They lost Game 7 in brutal fashion at home to an undermanned Chicago squad.
Typically, the Nets feasted on bad teams but couldn't always hang with the league's top contenders. So if they're going to be considered among the NBA's elite, Kidd knows that trend is going to have to change.
"I think when you look at the positives, they won the games they were supposed to," Kidd said. "Maybe the next step in the process is to win some of the games, some of the big games and building that identity and then go from there. The only way you can win is winning the games you're supposed to, but if you want to play with the big boys, you have to beat them at some point. So, hopefully, we can do that this year."
A majority of the players have been working out at the PNY Center lately, preparing for the upcoming season. Kidd, of course, is loving that.
"Yeah, this time of the year, you see a gym full of guys playing -- again it’s pickup -- but it’s good to see the guys in here working because I’ve always told this to my coaching staff: this is still their time," Kidd said. "The biggest thing is guys are in here working and when you see a Paul Pierce or a Kevin Garnett at 8, 8:30 in the morning here, it just shows you being professional, being a leader. Those guys have those qualities."