Jason Kidd believes he is ready to be a head coach in the National Basketball Association and so do the Brooklyn Nets.
The future NBA Hall of Fame point guard was introduced as the 18th headman of his former team at a press conference at the Barclays Center on Thursday afternoon.
Kidd, who played 19 seasons in the NBA, helped revitalize the Nets organization in New Jersey from 2001 to 2007 and reached two NBA Finals. The Nets hope he can do the same thing again with no prior coaching experience after retiring from playing following a stint with the crosstown rival Knicks this past season. The 40-year-old Kidd understands the challenge and is optimistic about what the Nets can accomplish — even if he’s a little worried.
“I’m nervous.’’ Kidd said. “I go from being one of the oldest players in the league to now being a rookie coach.”
He becomes the Nets third coach in the last year. Avery Johnson was fired in late December after two-plus seasons as the team started a disappointing 14–14. Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo took over on an interim basis. Under him Brooklyn finished 49–33, fourth in the Eastern Conference, but he was not brought back after the Nets were ousted in the first round of the playoffs be a depleted Chicago Bulls team.
Kidd, who one a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, came into the picture late. He quickly got job over Indian Pacers assistant Brian Shaw after meeting with Nets general manager Billy King Monday. Kidd hopes to move the franchise to a point of consistent success.
“We want to be a team that wins 50 games on a regular basis for 12 to 13 years,” he said. “My job is to put people in position to be successful. Also, guys have to be patient at listen.”
King said he understands the risks of bringing someone who has never coached before, but compared it to the Indiana Pacers hiring Larry Bird in 1998. King hired Kidd despite the new coach being arrested for DWI a year ago. He pled not guilty to the misdemeanor charge that can carry the potential for up to a year in prison and is scheduled for a hearing next week in Southhampton Town Court.
“We talked about it and I’m comfortable with it,” King said. “When we first sat down we talked with his attorneys.”
King trusts his gut and in the hard working Kidd after the two talked a lot of basketball, including Kidd’s plans for using the currents team’s roster. He said Kidd strives to not just be good at something, but great.
“His ceiling is very high because of his great work ethic and knowledge,” King said. “I think working together we can build something that can last a long time.”
Kidd wants this team to play, much like he did. He expects the Nets to be an up-tempo team that will look to score over 100 points per game. Kidd talked about the importance of ball movement, defense, and making sure All-Star point guard Deron Williams, with whom Kidd is friends, isn’t the only one bringing up the ball. Williams couldn’t be happier with his new coach and is looking forward to getting started.
“It’s exciting for me personally,” Williams said. “It’s a guy I grew up watching, trying to emulate and now I get to really learn from him.”
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.