As the new Head Coach for the Brooklyn Nets, former Nets legend Jason Kidd brings a Hall of Fame caliber resume to the table. Among Kidd’s outstanding accomplishments in his 19-year NBA career, Kidd has amassed 12,091 assists and 2,684 steals. Both totals mark the second most in NBA history in those categories. As a ten-time All-Star, a USA Olympic Gold Medalist, and an NBA Champion, there are very few things that Jason Kidd hasn’t accomplished on a basketball court. However, for all the accolades that Kidd has been celebrated for over the past two decades, he has absolutely NO experience coaching at any level unless you count the 2013 Knicks playoff run when Kidd was completely glued to the bench.
The hiring of Jason Kidd is an egregious mistake especially considering the excellent group of coaches who have recently become available: Vinny Del Negro, George Karl, and Lionel Hollins. Any one of these coaches would be a better option than Kidd. In addition, I refuse to believe that Kidd is even an upgrade over the two coaches that Brooklyn has fired in the past year: Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo. Both Carlesimo and Johnson, whether you agree with their philosophies or not, have a track record of success that cannot be matched by a first year head coach, no matter how prolific of a player that head coach was.
Not to mention a top-flight assistant coach like Brian Shaw who interviewed for the vacant Nets job and was mentored by the legendary Phil Jackson in Los Angeles. While Shaw did not have as distinguished of a playing career as Kidd, Shaw was on Jackson’s L.A. coaching staff when the Lakers captured two NBA titles during the post-Shaq era in 2009 and 2010. More recently, Shaw was an assistant for the Indiana Pacers who managed to push the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat to a Game 7 showdown in the Eastern Conference Finals this year.
Even the most outstanding players in NBA history have had to pay their dues as assistant coaches before even getting a chance to be a head coach. In the 67-year history of the New York Knick franchise, no player has ever accumulated more points (23,665) rebounds (10,759) steals (1,061) and blocks (2,758) than Patrick Ewing. After Ewing’s final NBA season in 2002, he became an assistant with the Washington Wizards and has remained in coaching ever since.
By the time Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks in 2012, Ewing had accumulated a stellar assistant coaching resume which included an Eastern Conference Championship as a member of the Orlando Magic staff in 2009. Instead of offering Ewing the head coaching job in New York, the Knicks decided to offer the best player in franchise history a head coaching position for their D-League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks. Ewing promptly declined this insulting offer and now remains as an assistant coach in the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Jason Kidd might very well be a great head coach in the NBA. However, there is something to be said when it comes to earning your stripes as an assistant before being given the full responsibilities of becoming a head coach. Player/Coach roles in professional sports have become all but extinct because of the advanced preparation time and advanced scouting that exists in today’s game. Then when you consider Kidd’s propensity for clashing with coaches and ultimately having them fired (a la Byron Scott in New Jersey circa 2004), wouldn’t it be poetic justice to see the current Nets point guard with a similar reputation in Deron Williams, cause Jason Kidd’s untimely demise in Brooklyn? Just food for thought.