Jason Kidd certainly understood his role while he was playing point guard, racking up All-Star appearances and other accolades as he moved steadily up the all-time ranks of the league's best floor generals.
Now that he's coaching for the Brooklyn Nets, things aren't going so smoothly.
UPDATE: Friday, Dec. 27, at 10:20 p.m. ET by Ben Leibowitz
Jason Kidd responded to the reports that he's losing the locker room, per Nets beat writer Andy Vasquez of The Record via Twitter:
Jason Kidd was asked about a report that he's losing support from players: "I just coach. I can't think about what you guys make up."— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) December 28, 2013
The coaching situation in Brooklyn just continues to get more and more awkward.
---End of update---
This 2013-14 campaign seems as though it's been lifted straight out of a horror movie. Between the injuries, the scapegoat-based demotion of Lawrence Frank, the lack of quality play on both ends of the court and the losses that keep piling up, nothing has gone as intended for Brooklyn. This was supposed to be a good team. A contender, even.
So much for that.
Kidd is now coaching for his life on the sidelines. Adrian Wojnarowski's latest report for Yahoo! Sports, one that is borderline scathing at points, doesn't make his future look particularly promising.
"More than once, sources said, players have stood in the locker room and told Kidd they don't understand their roles, that there's confusion about their principles," wrote Wojnarowski. Players reportedly don't understand the team's identity and are instead using code words to refer to Kidd's instructional failures.
In fact, Wojnarowski went so far as to tacitly suggest that the Nets head coach might actively be trying to get himself fired. "If Kidd wants an early exit with the $10 million left on his contract," he wrote, "he's following the proper blueprint: Blame the players, alienate everyone and, above all, keep losing."
He's also not working very hard, per ESPN's Bill Simmons.
Not good. RT @BillSimmons: Hearing a big stickler for Nets vets with Kidd is that he doesn't work hard. Like a Spurrier/Redskins situation.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 27, 2013
Based on the early results, it doesn't seem as though anyone in the Brooklyn organization can keep Kidd from following this unfortunate blueprint. Losing is the reality.
#Nets are in dark place. Injuries, no draft picks, no cap space, no flexibility, and firing Jason Kidd would be admission of mistake. Barf.— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) December 27, 2013
As B/R's Ethan Norof made perfectly clear in that tweet, there's not much hope in sight for the Nets. Given the current state of affairs, something unexpected will need to happen to get the team off the schneid. Even with Deron Williams in the lineup, Brooklyn's struggles haven't faded away.
In fewer than 30 games, the Nets have become a team devoid of chemistry and confidence. "I don't know if we will (turn the season around), but that's the plan," said Joe Johnson to NBA.com's Jake Appleman after Brooklyn lost to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, 95-78.
Does that sound like a team ready to compete and fight for its coach? Above all else, it's clear that Brooklyn is in need of a rebuild.
Will Kidd survive the season?
How? Who knows, but general manager Billy King must do something rather than sit back and watch the ship he built sink down to the bottom of the NBA standings.
All of the injuries have been straws. The losses, too. The Nets players not buying into Kidd's teachings will likely be the one that breaks the proverbial camel's back—another injury that, at this point, would just be par for the course.