Las Vegas, NV- Jason Kidd walked into unfamiliar territory last season as head coach for the Brooklyn Nets. Having no coaching experience many wondered if he’d succeed. After starting the season with a 10-21 record, everyone was ready to hand the rookie coach his pink slip.
But Kidd and the Nets turned things around earning him NBA’s Eastern Coach of the Month for both January and March and led the Nets to playoffs for the first time in Brooklyn and since 2007. It was a hurdle that Kidd knew he would accomplish simply because he kept believing it would get better.
“It takes being patient and understanding good things will happen,” Kidd said.
He was the first coach during the 2013-14 season to capture the award more than once. Kidd then coached the Nets to the playoffs before being knocked out in the second round by the Miami Heat. That was his first appearance in the playoffs as a head coach, not a bad start for a rookie coach.
So when the Nets denied Kidd an opportunity to excel in management, he and his manager Jeff Schwartz pulled off the impossible by incorporating himself in a trade that sent him out of Brooklyn after one year to coach the Milwaukee Bucks. He finds himself in another challenging situation as the Bucks finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference with 15 wins and 67 loses.
“It’s not about the market,” explained Kidd. I’ve played in small markets, I’ve played in big markets, basketball is inside the the arena. It doesn’t recognize what market you’re in. It’s about wins and loses. That’s the way I approach it.”
In his first appearance as head coach for the Bucks at the NBA Summer League, Kidd didn’t come in with any high expectations but rather to get a good look at his draft picks. The Bucks have gone 0-4 with one game left to be played tomorrow. Rookies Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker have had a chance to showcase their talents.
“Giannis and Jabari getting better are the positives from summer league,” Kidd said. They all have to continue to work on their craft. They all bring something special to the table.”
It’s a different spin from working with veterans like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams. Kidd will coach players that aren’t so popular like O.J Mayo, Zaza Pachulia and Brandon Knight. Kidd looks forward to the challenge of making this young team better.
“That’s why we’re down here. We have to know what it takes to win. My job is to teach and help these guys get better every time we come to work. There’s only one champion, so we’ll take it one day at a time.”