I can only imagine how weird it must be to play against a player one year, then have him coach you the next. That is the story with each player (aside from rookies) that will be suiting up in a Brooklyn Nets uniform for the 2013-14 NBA season under newly-hired head coach Jason Kidd.
When it comes to his skill on the court, there are no doubts about Kidd as a basketball player. He took the Nets to two consecutive NBA Finals back in the early 2000s and won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. He is second all time in NBA history with assists and steals behind John Stockton in both categories.
The hiring came just less than 10 days after Kidd retired from the NBA at age 40.
Coaching success from former NBA players has had mixed results in the past. Doc Rivers and Marc Jackson have done terrific jobs coaching their respective teams, while Isiah Thomas and Avery Johnson seemed to be failed experiments.
It is important to note that Johnson coached the Nets earlier in the 2012-13 season and was later fired due to uninspired play by the whole team as a cohesive unit. Though, Johnson did win Coach of the Year in 2006 with the Dallas Mavericks.
As for the players on the Nets, you can sense uncertainty with how they are feeling about the hiring. Point guard Deron Williams gave his opinions to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
“Nobody knows if he’s going to be a great coach. It’s going to take him a couple years to adjust. But at the same time, he could be a great coach off the bat. It’s a risk, but I think it’s somebody we can grow with. I think it’s somebody we’re definitely going to respect and listen to. And I’m excited about the ways he’s going to help me as a player and a leader.”
I have no doubts that Kidd could be a great head coach in the NBA, but for the Nets to hire a coach to lead a team that has the fire power to compete in the present, it surprises me they'd take someone who is an unproven bench boss.
Not to mention, with all the talent on the Nets, they appeared to be the least motivated team to perform in the 2012-13 season. I mean look at their talent aside from Williams: Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace to name a few. They need a guy behind the bench to motivate and inspire them.
As great of a leader Kidd was in his playing days, he doesn't appear to have the vocal power to motivate a team to play with the likes of Chicago, Miami and Indiana in the Eastern Conference. He showed the majority of his leadership through his play on the court.
I could be completely wrong and Kidd could very well go in and make an inspiring impact. But for now, I see a huge risk with not too many quick rewards in sight.