Coach of the month in January. (AP)
Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd won Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors in January, the team announced today. Kidd led the Nets to a 10-3 record in the month, their best winning percentage in January in their 38-year NBA history.
Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN originally had the report:
In the month, the Nets beat real contenders: the defending champion Miami Heat, the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, the Eastern Conference third seed Atlanta Hawks (twice), and the 29-19 Golden State Warriors.
Kidd underwent massive scrutiny in the first two months of the season, as the championsip-aspiring Nets stumbled to a 10-21 record through the end of 2013. But some subtle changes in the new year helped bring the Nets around to winning ways.
Kidd found a winning combination with the starting lineup of Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. The 5 rattled off eight wins in their first eight starts together. The idea that Brook Lopez's injury forced the Nets into this lineup is a misnomer; the Nets could've gone in a number of directions before choosing this five. The hybrid lineup of a small power forward in Pierce and big players at each position created spacing and matchup nightmares offensively, while allowing Kevin Garnett to function as a defensive anchor in the paint at center. If Deron Williams is healthy, he and Shaun Livingston have a lot of potential as a two-point guard lineup with Kidd at the helm.
He also stopped wearing a tie on the sideline.
In that process, Kidd also engineered an offense that took six more threes per game in January than it had in the first two months, with that change alone ticking up Brooklyn's offensive efficiency quite a bit.
For the month of January, the Nets had the league's second-best record, behind only the 12-3 Memphis Grizzlies. They outscored opponents by an average of three points per 100 possessions, a number brought down significantly by their last loss of the month, a 120-95 stinker at the hands of the Thunder.
Kidd's son T.J. tweeted out his congratulations to his dad.