After an extremely disappointing beginning to the season, Jason Kidd—one of the greatest point guards in NBA history—has figured out how to thrive as a coach.
When the Nets were 10-21, and sources were telling B/R’s Howard Beck that Kidd “doesn’t do anything,” it was easy to call for his head.
But the front office’s belief in the rookie coach never faltered. Here’s what Prokorov told Fred Kerber of the New York Post on March 30 through a spokesperson:
I really had no doubts about Jason, nor did I have any doubts that building a contender with the Nets would take some time. We spoke once during the tough period and I told him not to pay any attention to what the papers were saying—no offense, New York Post—and to just do his thing.
Brooklyn certainly has turned things around, and will look to make some noise in the playoffs.
But despite the fact that he’s proven himself, opposing coaches must put pressure on Kidd, who experienced the postseason 17 times as a player but never as a coach.
The small-ball lineup that Kidd implemented after Lopez went down has proven to be successful. But while that approach worked well in regular-season contests, it may be exploitable in a series.
B/R’s Walker Harrison recently outlined why Kidd is ready to coach in the playoffs but acknowledges the risk involved with his unconventional decisions down the stretch of ballgames:
It's likely that Kidd will be faced with more close-and-late scenarios in the playoffs, requiring him to again enter into a battle of wits with the opposing coach. He might make the right call, and he also might get burned for his unorthodox decisions.
Maybe Kidd is even better during the postseason than regular season. It’s a possibility, because as Harrison notes, Kidd often goes against the grain.
But there’s also the chance that the first-year head coach will go through an adjustment period and be forced to figure everything out on the fly. Much like the beginning of the regular season, such a growth process in the postseason could lead to the Nets struggling.
There’s no time to ease into what will be a sea of roaring postseason waters. For BKN's sake, Kidd will have to swan dive into the ocean of playoff coaching.
And whether he sinks or swims will be one of the biggest determining factors in how Brooklyn’s title chase plays out.