Summer league basketball is a time for learning, development, and improvement. In the case of first-time Head Coach Jason Kidd, this time is critical for developing his overall experience as a basketball coach. While the actual winning and losing of these exhibition games will not reflect on Kidd’s overall abilities as a head coach, the basic repetition of this detailed oriented position should be of the utmost importance to Kidd. The key words being “should be”.
This video shows Kidd’s Brooklyn Nets losing 17-2 to the Houston Rockets during the first quarter of their July 11 summer league game. The first issue to be addressed was that Kidd was not actually coaching in this game. Although Kidd has absolutely no head coaching experience at any level and desperately needs the experience, he allowed his assistants to do the dirty work of coaching this summer league contest. Secondly, rather than observing the in-game action and utilizing his vast basketball knowledge to help his young players gain momentum, Kidd elects to walk away from the bench to take a personal phone call. While the 92-76 final score in which Brooklyn lost to Houston was inconsequential, the incredible arrogance and mis-management of priorities displayed by Kidd was the most egregious and completely in-excusable mistake of the entire game.
In sports, it is absolutely necessary for coaches and players alike to be “all-in”. The competition in professional sports is so fierce and intense, that if everyone involved does not devote 100% of their time and effort into the cause, there will be absolutely no team success. It is hard enough to become champions even if everything goes right, so if the effort and passion is lacking from any single cog in the unit, it is a certain guarantee that failure is inevitable. And with this behavior happening in summer league action, Kidd is clearly not setting a good example for the young and inexperienced players he is now in charge of coaching.
It is apparent that the warning signs of complacency are already glaringly obvious with “Coach” Kidd. So far, I have noticed simple things such as Kidd receiving a technical foul for not standing in the designated coaching box. Also, Kidd seems un-engaged with his young players during time-outs, allowing lead assistant and former Nets Head Coach Lawrence Frank to diagram every play during each team huddle. After a 19-year Hall of Fame NBA career, there must be something more Kidd can do to help these young players during an exhibition scrimmage.
Kidd's decision to take summer league games off and field a personal call during live game action was the ultimate slap in the face to an organization making such a huge gamble on a first time head coach. I have more respect for an ex-player like Charles Barkley, because at least Barkley is up-front about his desire to be lazy and his refusal to do any more heavy lifting. Kidd on the other hand is making a mockery of the entire coaching profession by walking into a job with no resume AND no work ethic. While this was merely an exhibition game, a coaching novice like Kidd does not have the luxury to sit out of summer league action and miss these repetitions, much less field personal phone calls while games are in session.
I’m sure the Brooklyn Nets will let Kidd get away with this flagrantly disrespectful act because after all, Kidd was the most relevant player in Nets history since Julius Erving. However, if Kidd continues to rest on his laurels, it is very possible that the harder working Assistant Coach Frank will eventually take Kidd’s job. Then maybe Kidd will have reason to take a phone call, probably in search of a designated driver.