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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Jason Kidd: Nets simplified defense

By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd said he began simplifying things on the defensive end "a little bit" before the team's 90-82 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 7.

The Nets (9-15) were coming off back-to-back blowout losses at the hands of the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks prior to that. Since then, they have won four of their last five games.

"That's as good as it gets when you simplify things and guys have bought in and guys are doing it at a high level right now," Kidd said.

The Nets were 5-12 when Kidd decided to reassign defensive coordinator/lead assistant Lawrence Frank to doing "daily reports." They struggled on the defensive end in their first two games without Frank, yielding 224 total points.

On the season, they were allowing 103.3 points per game prior to the Milwaukee game. Since then, they've allowed 93.6 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting.

Nets power forward Kevin Garnett has used the word "simplified" a lot recently, praising the coaching staff for making things easier on the team.

Sources said Kidd and Frank differed in their defensive philosophies, with Kidd wanting to move the big men up in pick-and-roll coverages. The players have talked a lot about developing trust and communicating better on that end of the floor as the reason for their turnaround.

Frank was very vocal during practices. Kidd gets his point across differently.

"I mean, Lawrence was always kind of the defensive guy, so he was talking on defense and he was definitely long-winded when it came to teaching, so I definitely think it's helped," Nets point guard Deron Williams said. "We're a veteran group, we get things pretty easily. So at times when you're just talking and we're not practicing, it gets a little lengthy. But I think J-Kidd does a good job of getting his points across quick and easy and then we move on."

Asked about needing to constantly pound things into his player's heads at practice about defense, Kidd said: "They want to be coached and so this is a group that you can ask them but they want to be coached. They want to be told what we're trying to do and when you tell them to go through it and not just once but continue to go through it so they can get better at it."

Williams was asked about Kidd's coaching transition.

"He's always been comfortable, we were just hurt and we were losing," Williams said. "He's gonna take a lot of the blame for that, but he's been great all year. And he'll continue to be great."

Sources have told ESPN.com's Marc Stein for weeks that Kidd has maintained the support of the team's Russian ownership because it's early, the team has been decimated by injuries and he was transitioning so quickly from player to coach.

As he walked away from reporters, Williams wondered if the Nets had really changed anything.

But Williams did say what he believes has been the biggest difference for the team.

"We're just healthy now, a little bit more healthy, so you can see what we can do on the court," Williams said.