Jason Kidd has officially completed his transition from the Brooklyn Nets to the Milwaukee Bucks, a move that was the driving focus of Milwaukee's recent press conference. Though he didn't end up landing the front-office powers he coveted in his old location, he'll still be serving as the man in charge on the Brew Town sidelines.
Wednesday afternoon, he was officially introduced by John Hammond and the rest of the Milwaukee front office.
Presser is starting. pic.twitter.com/NqheP4Fw3i— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 2, 2014
If you missed anything from the Jason Kidd press conference you can watch it again NOW at http://t.co/WV3Lmq2flc— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 2, 2014
Wesley Edens, a co-owner of the franchise, was the first to mention Kidd, and there was nothing but praise for the 41-year-old who thrived as a point guard and steadily improved during his first season patrolling the bench area:
Wes Edens: We think Jason Kidd is the best young coaching talent in basketball.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 2, 2014
Marc Lasry, the co-owner who has had a prior relationship with Kidd, offered similar levels of praise:
Marc Lasry: "I've admired Jason as a player, as a coach ... For our organization to be able to get someone like Jason, it's phenomenal."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 2, 2014
When Kidd first spoke, he was quick to discuss the excitement he felt for his new role, a sentiment that applies both to his job title and the roster he now has control over:
Jason Kidd: "I'm very excited to be here in Milwaukee ... this is about the Milwaukee Bucks, and I am excited for this opportunity."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 2, 2014
Kidd: "Very excited to be part of a young, talented roster. This is a family and I'm happy to be welcome into this family." #Nets— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 2, 2014
Interestingly enough, the one name he mentioned after speaking about the young talent was Ersan Ilyasova. Don't read into that too much, though. Kidd is surely well aware that he'll be getting to coach promising players like Giannis Antetokounmpo (even though spelling that name will take practice), recent No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, John Henson, Brandon Knight and Larry Sanders, who figures to resume his role as the centerpiece of the lanky defense.
Kidd was also asked to express his thoughts on the desire for power within the Brooklyn organization, but it was a subject that no one was really willing to broach during the presser.
Instead, Kidd used the questions as an opportunity to re-emphasize his role as a coach:
Jason Kidd when asked about wanting more power in Brooklyn & if he'd want that in MIL: "I'm a coach, and that's what it's all about."— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) July 2, 2014
Of course, the way this job came about was rather controversial. As for that criticism, Kidd seemed willing to accept it, acknowledging that such sentiments have always emerged as part of life in the Association:
Kidd: "When you're a player, you're going to be criticized, and as a coach, you're going to be criticized."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 2, 2014
Kidd: "Criticism comes with the territory." He again doesn't address Q about how this all went down #Nets— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 2, 2014
Referring to Brooklyn general manager Billy King, he also acknowledged that basketball is, after all, a business:
Jason Kidd on why he chose to leave Brooklyn: "I think Billy said it best. It's business. That's what it comes down to."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 2, 2014
The nature of the transition, as well as Kidd's controversial playing career—one that contained incidents both on and off the floor—continued to be a huge subject for everyone asking questions:
Jason Kidd: No one is perfect and I will be the first to admit that. It's about if you make a mistake, being able to own it.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 2, 2014
Jason Kidd: On and off the court I'll be able to help these guys, and that's what a head coach is supposed to do.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 2, 2014
But fortunately, the former point guard seems willing to use his past to help his players develop in the present and future.
And how is that going to happen?
Well, Kidd is one of the best floor generals of all time. He had a precocious understanding for developments on the court early in his career, and that was only honed as he continued to gain experience during his lengthy tenure in the NBA. If he can pass that along, he'll make everyone on the roster significantly better.
Both he and Hammond hinted at exactly that while speaking at the press conference:
Hammond talked about Kidd as a player, calling him a "coach on the court."— Dan Shafer (@danshaferMKE) July 2, 2014
Jason Kidd: It's about who I was as a player, it's about making the guys around me better. I take the same approach as a coach.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 2, 2014
Kidd's first season as a head coach was certainly a roller coaster.
The Nets were a disaster early in his tenure. However, they rebounded nicely down the stretch, swaying public perception of the team's head coach while advancing to the second round of the postseason and giving the Miami Heat a legitimate scare.
"As a coach, it's about being patient." - Jason Kidd.— Dan Shafer (@danshaferMKE) July 2, 2014
Picking up patience is undoubtedly a positive.
Though the Bucks are certainly on an upward trajectory and boast a tremendous amount of young talent and future financial flexibility, they're not going to be highly competitive in 2014-15. Patience is of paramount importance, because the losses will inevitably pile up, as they did early on in Kidd's brief stay with Brooklyn.
Will Jason Kidd succeed with the Bucks?
But patience is often rewarded.
Should Kidd stick with Milwaukee and grow along with the rest of the roster, this is a team that could make some noise down the road. That's the hope, at least.
On Wednesday afternoon, that journey began. Now the growth truly starts.