Rod Thorn has never hired a coach without experience -- and doesn’t know if he ever would. But for one of the greatest point guards of all time, Jason Kidd, Thorn might be willing to make an exception.
“I think it’s that hard,” Thorn, the former Nets executive who traded for Kidd, told Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN New York 98.7 FM on Monday. “But saying that, of all the people that I’ve been around, if anybody could do it, I think Jason Kidd could do it.”
Thorn, who now serves in an advisory role in the Sixers' front office, spoke about the challenges Kidd would face were he to get the Nets job.
“There are a lot of things other than just coaching the games and just getting prepared for the games that you have to deal with as a head coach, particularly in New York,” Thorn said. “I think it would be important for Jason to have with him a staff that could help him in the areas that he might need help with early on. He has a very tremendous knowledge of basketball; as you said with the Knicks, he was like another coach; he has a very good feel for players. But there is more to it than that, and to me, if he has the right people around him, I think he’ll do very, very well.”
Asked about former Nets coach Lawrence Frank joining Kidd on the bench, Thorn responded, “If that were in fact true, I think that would be a very astute move on Jason’s part.”
When Kidd came to the Nets, he changed the culture of the franchise. In his first season (2001-02), New Jersey went from a 26-win team to a 52-win team that reached the NBA Finals.
“I can’t say right away, but in exhibition season when we got Jason, we had a team that had bad chemistry. It didn’t rebound, it didn’t defend and it didn’t play together,” Thorn said. “So he helped in all those areas, and once the players saw that he was gonna pass the ball, he was gonna guard and he was gonna make us into a better team, then everybody fell into line. And even though in those days Jason was not the most outgoing guy, he was more leading by example by anything that was said, I think Lawrence was correct, that the other players did not want to let him down because of the high level he played at.”
Thorn noted that the Nets are still interviewing other candidates -- they’ll talk with Brian Shaw on Wednesday -- but added, “(The story)’s got legs of its own right now, so it’s going to be very interesting.”