Summer League: Pistons 76, Nets 67

Coach Kidd in action. (h/t @CJZero)
Coach Kidd in action. (h/t @CJZero)

Max Weisberg heavily contributed reporting to this article.

As Jason Kidd said some weeks ago, this is summer school and he’s just here to learn. Class was in session Sunday in Orlando.

As the timeouts were called throughout the 1st half, the flock of Nets’ beat writers that made the trip to Orlando noticed a common theme: it was Lawrence Frank – not Kidd – drawing up the plays in the Nets huddle.

As Josh Newman of SNY described it: Frank is “quarterbacking the huddles.” Howard Beck added that Frank was indeed drawing up the plays, but that Kidd was presenting them to the team.

This is not uncommon for inexperienced head coaches or coaches who have the luxury of having an experienced assistant. It could though, cause some confusion when the Nets have success: should we praise Kidd or Frank for the accomplishments on the court?

We should praise both, in fact. They are a team. One of the best strategists in the league (Frank) and one of the best minds in the game (Kidd) should make for a strong combo this season.

Of course though, this is summer league and observations often don’t matter one iota. As Kidd gets more experience, he will be the one drawing up the plays, calling the shots, and running the huddles.

Some other Kidd notes from tonight’s game

  • Kidd received his first ever technical foul in the fourth quarter. The announcers believe that it’s the first time a technical foul has ever been called on a head coach in Summer League. In typical Kidd fashion, it was probably the most boring way to get T’ed up in a game, as he commented on a non-foul call, Kidd stepped out of the coaching box. They then added: “Kidd is already leaving his mark!” Jokes were had by all.
  • “It’s a lesson learned that I know I can’t go past half court,” said Kidd after the game.
  • He was often relaxed, sitting down, talking to Frank on the sidelines. During huddles and timeouts, it was Frank with the clipboard. But during quick pauses and fleeting moments, it was Kidd talking to players like Tyshawn Taylor closer to  center court.
  • He seemed very encouraging to his players.
  • He implemented a Hack-A-Drummond plan in the fourth quarter when trailing.
  • The Nets seemed to move the ball well, something Kidd has said he will emphasize.
  • On offense, it appeared as though there was a lot of high screens for the Nets guards, set by the big men.
  • Also, this, which I’m assuming is more of a Lawrence Frank thing than a Jason Kidd thing.

Again, it’s summer school, and Kidd is just learning on the fly. Watching Jason Kidd’s mannerisms and demeanor, technical foul and all, was the most compelling part of today. But there was also a game to be played

Well, not much else happened.

A quick look at today’s box score might give the impression that PG Tyshawn Taylor, now officially competing for time with Shaun Livingston, had a good game. He led all players in points with 16 while also adding… wait, Tyshawn only had one assist. Okay, then.

Taylor attacked the rim with reckless abandon early and often but hardly ever converted and the second year pro started the second half shooting a dysmal 1-8 from the field.

He played considerably better in the fourth quarter, but if the Nets are looking for a distributing point guard off the bench, I don’t know if Taylor will ever learn, unfortunately. The Nets offense never quite looked in sync and most of that falls on Taylor’s shoulders.

Elsewhere, rookie Mason Plumlee impressed with his motor and athleticism. He had fourteen rebounds and ten points while playing some pretty tough defense in the paint. But, Plumlee will be remembered for this today. Wow, right? If Plumlee can bring this effort and these type of high-flying energy every night, he will be a fan favorite in Brooklyn.

Everybody’s favorite #TokoMotive, Tornike Shengelia, was quiet tonight as he finished 1-7 from the field and often looked ignored on the offensive end. For someone that made a huge impact on the Nets’ summer league team last year, he hardly seemed to exist on the court tonight.

Chris Wright, the first ever NBA player to compete with multiple sclerosis chipped in with eight points and five assists including a ridiculous buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter.

Damion James, in his like 70th stint for Brooklyn, had a nice game with fourteen points and eight rebounds while showing some nice midrange game. He’s unlikely to make Brooklyn’s roster this year, however.

Brooklyn plays again tomorrow at 5 p.m. against Miami as they continue to look for Jason Kidd’s first win as a Net.