NEW YORK -- Jason Kidd and Brad Stevens faced each other for the first of what should be several encounters to come over the next few years.
Both will experience plenty of growing pains this season in their first years as NBA head coaches. Both Atlantic Division coaches have much to learn but Kidd believes he has the steeper learning curve than the Celtics' rookie coach.
Becoming a head coach for the very first time is likely going to be more challenging for Kidd than Stevens making the jump from college to the pros.
"He's had success in college and he's going to have success in the NBA," Kidd said before facing Stevens for the first time in a Nets-Celtics preseason game. "So I think it would probably be me learning how to be a head coach in this league [which will be more difficult].
"Hopefully at the end of the season, I can say that he's going to be great at what he does in Boston," Kidd added. "And hopefully I can be great here in Brooklyn."
Of the two rookie coaches, Kidd certainly has more pressure on him to win right away. He is charged with leading a roster built to win it all after the Nets acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from Boston in the offseason.
Stevens, 36, is overseeing a rebuilding phase for the Celtics after leaving Butler where he won 166 games in his six seasons there -- the most for any Division I coach over his first six years.
Stevens understands why Kidd would think going from player straight to coaching is more difficult.
"It's unique for me because it is a different league, there are a lot of nuances that are different," Stevens said of his move. "But I can also see why he would say that, because it is much different sitting there and making calls in a game and looking at it from that aspect. I think he's doing a really good job."
Stevens said the Nets under Kidd have looked "very sound on both ends of the court" thus far. Of course, the advantage Kidd has that Stevens doesn't is a talented veteran-packed roster ready to win now.
"To be quite candid, they are loaded at most every position," Stevens said. "I heard someone the other day that said they had 36 All-Star appearances on their roster. That's pretty impressive."
Kidd, though, is impressed with Stevens, somebody he figures he will be facing many times for a long time to come.
"I think the transition [from college] will be easier for him because he is a head coach and he understands what it takes to be successful," Kidd said. "For that, Boston has picked a good guy in the sense of [Stevens] understanding what it takes to win."