A SMART FRANCHISE FAVORITE
Jason Kidd elevated the Nets to new heights as a player, so why can't he do the same as a coach?
The biggest knock on Kidd is that he's just a couple of weeks removed from retirement and he's never coached an NBA game before.
Obviously, the Nets are taking a massive risk here, but I think it's a risk worth taking.
Kidd is the best player in the franchise's NBA history, a future Hall of Fame point guard who will immediately command the respect of his players. He has great basketball acumen, and wowed team brass, a league source told ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor, by drawing offensive plays during a Monday meeting to show he could command an offense as a coach.
In the end, the same league source said, the Nets picked Kidd over Brian Shaw, whom many believed was more qualified, in large part because they believed Kidd could get the most out of his close friend Deron Williams.
As long as Kidd surrounds himself with a good group of veteran assistant coaches -- and all indications are that that's the plan -- he's going to be just fine. The Nets have a talented roster, and I think Kidd will end up getting the most out of it.
Obviously, the list of star players turned successful coaches isn't a long one. But Larry Bird has done it in Indiana, and Mark Jackson did a heck of a job in his first year in Golden State this past season, so it is possible.
Jason Kidd turned this franchise around before as a player. And there is clearly reason to believe he can do it again as its head coach.
Mike Mazzeo covers the Nets for ESPNNewYork.com
FRIEND OR BOSS?
Can a friend also be an authority figure? Jason Kidd is about to find out.
Many see Kidd's relationship with Deron Williams as one of the reasons he'll succeed in his first year as head coach of the Nets. Color me skeptical.
Will Kidd be able to put his friendship aside when he has to deliver a harsh criticism of Williams? How will Williams, who isn't known as the most coachable player in the NBA, take being critiqued by Kidd? This is just one of the hurdles Kidd needs to overcome in his transition to coaching.
Here's another: The lifestyle of a Hall of Fame point guard and first-year head coach are two very different things.
Although Kidd will reportedly have experienced assistant coaches on his staff to help with X's and O's, he'll still be expected to put in extremely long hours with precious little time off.
"It's going to take more work than it did as a player," Magic Johnson said. And he should know. Johnson, like Kidd, transitioned from legendary point guard to head coach when he was on the Lakers' bench for 16 games in 1996.
Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of reasons to like the Nets' decision to hire Kidd.
As a future Hall of Famer, he should have the immediate respect of the Nets. And as a 19-year NBA veteran, he probably has a good handle on how to deal with the different personalities in an NBA locker room.
But I think the Williams-Kidd dynamic has the potential to be problematic. And it's just one of many issues Kidd will have to handle in his first year on the bench.
Ian Begley covers the Knicks for ESPNNewYork.com