Jason Kidd comes to Brooklyn
The first thing I can tell you about the press conference announcing Jason Kidd as the new Nets head coach is that I missed most of it, thanks to a ruthless New York City transit system that had no problem breaking down on a bridge and taking 40 minutes to make 3 stops from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I can’t tell you what was said in those fifteen minutes lost to time, though I can tell you about the old Chinese man whose frustration at the train was so whole that he exited by flipping off the ceiling and slamming his umbrella against the intercom as the conductor bleated that the train would now be running express, because of course it would.
I did eventually get to the newly redesigned Barclays Center, and I did stand in the back of the entrance listening to Kidd and Billy King talk about their vision for the team/franchise, most of which amounted to the kind of platitude you’d expect from a guy who’s been on the job for less than 24 hours and a guy whose job depends on how this goes. Because all of the media’s questions were probing for answers that haven’t been reached yet—the type of offense he’d like to run, how he sees Gerald Wallace’s place, how he’ll prepare to beat the Knicks, and so on. All of that will take time to deduce; Kidd, for his part, looked composed and calm as he fielded each question, though his cadence was kind of stilted and hesitant and definitely super soft, as though he was being especially careful not to give anything away. Toward the end of the conference, he said something about how Greg Popovich is the best coach who gives the best interviews, which means myself and the rest of the media have a lot of fun to look forward to.
Kidd will figure things out as he hires his assistants—the much rumored Lawrence Frank remains just a rumor—and figures out how to rearrange the team. This is the roster we have for a few years, for better or worse. Kidd’s strength is that he’s so newly retired that his reputation must surely hold sway over a roster quickly brought together under the promise of “Brooklyn basketball” a year ago without much of a vision to guide them along. I’ve mostly just seen one way to read the hire, best delineated by SB Nation‘s David Roth who waxes on the state of the Nets while comparing Kidd to Isiah Thomas (harsh!), and Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who takes a more neutral tone when he writes, “He might do well. He might flop. I have no clue. No one does.”
That’s how I’m inclined to see things. Sure, why not? Kidd was a well respected tactical genius who made any short list of “players most likely to become coaches.” That it’s coming less than two weeks after he retired is a little fast, but in the wake of Mark Jackson’s success with Golden State I don’t know if anyone can confidently say what does or doesn’t make a good coach. I know that “we’ll see” isn’t a very #hotsportstake, but anything else is just projection. What I do know is that Jason Kidd is the only Nets coach to have ever been name-dropped in a Nelly song, though the reference literally took me a decade to catch. Hopefully we’ll be able to judge his tenure sooner than that.