He’s back again. For the second time this season, the Nets welcomed former coach & player Jason Kidd to town, as his Milwaukee Bucks took on the Nets at Barclays Center.
After most pre-season predictions put the Bucks firmly in the lottery, Kidd’s Bucks currently hold the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 34-34 record heading into Friday night.
“I don’t think a lot of people saw this, so for us it’s to continue to build on it, and we feel we have the pieces to do that,” Kidd said. “We’re in a pretty good (situation) with draft picks, a lot of money to spend, (and) we have every guy pretty much on our roster coming back.”
The Bucks aren’t flush with cap space or first-rounders. They only have their own first-round picks, and a protected Clippers first-round pick in 2017. They also don’t have much cap space — they’ve got about $50 million committed to salaries next season.
But compared to the Nets, who don’t control their first-round pick until 2019 and have three max contracts on their roster through next season, they’ve got all the options in the world.
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But Kidd played coy when asked if his decision had worked out. “Some would say yes, some would say no.”
Kidd stressed the importance of the bigger picture for the Bucks, who weren’t expected to contend for a playoff spot this season. The team sent away starting point guard Brandon Knight, who was in the midst of a career season, at the trade deadline, getting back young project Michael Carter-Williams and Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee’s older brother. They’ve lost 11 of 15 games since the break heading into Friday night, and sit in the sixth seed with a 34-34 record. Kidd did not see it as a problem. “We’re getting better every time we play, winning or losing,” Kidd said. “We had two good looks, two wide open looks. We learn from missed shots, we learn from making winning shots so we’re not trending down.”
“Sometimes you’ve got to look in front of you. … We’re here to build something, not to do something in six months,” Kidd said. “This is a bigger picture so we feel that we have a core here that will be around a long time and have success.”
“You have to show more film (to younger guys),” Kidd said. “You have to spend a little more time on the floor, because there’s just not enough minutes under some of the guys’ belts when you talk about 20 years old. they just haven’t had enough of seeing what’s in front of them until they strike 22 or 23 years old, then you can say they maybe have seen a lot of things that an 18-, 19-year old hasn’t seen before.”
With all his success in Brooklyn, Kidd didn’t know much about his former team’s success — or lack thereof.
“I don’t really pay too much attention (to them),” Kidd said. “We only play them four times. They’ve still got a chance to make the playoffs, they’re in the East.”