Monday, February 3, 2014
Kidd named Coach of the Month
By Ohm Youngmisuk
Nets head coach Jason Kidd has earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors for January.
The Nets went 10-3 and compiled two five-game winning streaks last month to earn Kidd his first coach of the month award. Kidd is the first Nets coach to get the nod since Avery Johnson won in November of the 2012-2013 season.
"I’m still feeling my way," Kidd said when asked about his first season as coach. "I’m still early in my young coaching career, but I’ve seen a lot the first couple months. But the biggest thing is being able to communicate with those guys and making sure that we’re all on the same page."
"[But] I wouldn’t want it any other way," he added of coaching with championship expectations unlike most rookie coaches. "This is the perfect situation for me."
The first-year coach was able to turn things around following a rocky start as the Nets were hammered by injuries and drama in the first couple of months of the season.
Brooklyn opened a disappointing 10-21 with injuries sidelining Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry at different times.
Kidd also made headlines for demoting lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank when the two had differences they could not overcome. He also was fined $50,000 for intentionally spilling a cup of soda onto the court during a loss to the Lakers in November in an attempt to give his team more time to draw up a play for a shot at the end of the game without any timeouts left.
But despite the tumultuous start for the NBA's most expensive roster, ownership supported Kidd, who kept the Nets from unraveling despite losing All-Star center Lopez for the season in December to a foot injury.
Brooklyn opened 2014 by stunning the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Jan. 2. The Nets won 10 of their first 11 games of the month, a stretch that included upsets over the likes of Golden State and Miami and a victory in London over Atlanta. They finished the month with two consecutive losses to Toronto and Oklahoma City.
Kidd switched to a smaller lineup featuring Pierce at power forward and Kevin Garnett at center and also brought Williams off the bench for a stretch after the point guard returned from an ankle injury.
The team played better defensively and got healthier with the return of Williams and Kirilenko. Kidd also leaned offensively on Joe Johnson, who earned an All-Star reserve spot with his play.
"It’s a great honor for those guys in that locker room because they’re playing at a high level and it’s a very nice recognition,” Kidd said of winning Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. “But it’s for those guys that are playing, and those guys are playing very well right now.”