The Brooklyn Nets began this season with championship aspirations, multiple Hall of Famers, and the franchise’s most recognizable face leading the charge. Now, after a horrid 3-7 start, the Nets are doubling back, asking questions about their own contributions, and refusing to answer others.
One of the team’s biggest questions is the recently retired professional basketball player and first-time head coach, Jason Kidd. Chris Hooker, before the season started, talked himself into Kidd as partly a coach, but also a veteran leader in a suit:
Maybe it’s not about teaching or learning anything. I’m right, most of these guys have probably done all the actual learning that they’ll ever do, and maybe the real question should be: “What can Lawrence Frank teach you?” Because what Kidd can teach is the same thing any veteran can teach, what any veteran of anything can teach. The teaching is secondary, what’s primary is being there to talk to his players, being a guy who commands respect. Being a person involved with the organization who’s been around.
I learned more about swimming from my teammates than I ever did from my coach, even though the coach was actually the one teaching. What the Nets have done is allowed Jason Kidd to be a teammate without him playing any minutes, and left the teaching up the experts.
This isn’t to say that Kidd is doing nothing. The system utilizes his ideas. But he’s not the primary teacher, he’s not running the drills. Maybe he will be someday, but right now, he isn’t. And that’s okay.
Eight games into his career, perhaps it’s not. One veteran scout, speaking to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report under condition of anonymity, said that Kidd “doesn’t do anything” as head coach:
A veteran scout, interviewed earlier in the day and speaking on the condition of anonymity, called Kidd’s bench comportment “terrible,” observing that the play-calling has fallen mostly to his top assistants, Lawrence Frank and John Welch.
“He doesn’t do anything,” said the scout, who has watched the Nets several times. “He doesn’t make calls. John Welch does all the offense. Lawrence does all the defense. … I don’t know what Kidd does. I don’t think you can grade him and say he’s bad. You can give him an incomplete.”
The same scout said he had counted only 15 plays run by the Nets in the games he has watched. Multiple observers have noted that the Nets offense lacks any discernible flow, as if the stars are all simply taking turns with the ball.
There hasn’t been any question that Kidd would have a steep learning curve as head coach, and the Nets are not concerned with his performance thus far. They knew that Frank would instill the defensive philosophies, and the offense would go through Welch, with Kidd poking and prodding with occasional wisdom. But it’s possible that Kidd needs to take a more hands-on approach, which he’s apparently done in practice today.