Sources tell me that the Nets have offered their coaching job to Jason Kidd, their former star point guard and future Hall of Famer who recently retired.
The Nets have an interview scheduled with Brian Shaw, but I am told that is just window dressing. They are talking contract with Kidd, who is in the process of building a coaching staff. The bottom line is that the Nets believe they have found their guy.
But have they?
There were certainly plenty of very experienced, very accomplished coaches available for the Nets to hire. The Nuggets agreed to part ways with George Karl before the last year of his deal. The Grizzlies decided not to offer Lionel Hollins a contract. Both of the Traveling Van Gundy brothers are available. The legendary Jerry Sloan is interested in returning to coaching.
In a season with such a veritable buffet of coaching choices, it seems quite odd that the Nets would hire a player who’s been retired for about five minutes and has never coached a game in his life.
I’m calling this particular phenomenon the Mark Jackson Effect, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. Also a former point guard, Jackson took over as coach of the Golden State Warriors before the 2011-2012 season without ever having coached on any level. He was a superb game analyst with a magnetic personality.
The Warriors were sure to surround him with a very bright lead assistant with Mike Malone, who was qualified to be a head coach (and has since been hired by the Sacramento Kings). With Malone’s help, Jackson learned a lot about attention to detail and preparation. However, what made Jackson a great choice was his ability to get through to his players and to get the most out of them.
There’s no reason Kidd cannot do the same thing. He is a brilliant basketball mind and a natural leader. He is competitive as they come and mentally tough. He is unselfish and knows what it is like to be a team player.
Plus, his Hall of Fame resume allows him to be demanding and expect plenty from his players. because he gave a lot. Like Jackson, Kidd also is very well-liked and should not have a difficult time motivating players.
Furthermore, I am told Kidd’s key hire as lead assistant will be Lawrence Frank, his former coach with the Nets who was just fired by the Detroit Pistons. Frank is a very good young coach who has struggled in recent seasons when he has had his own team to run. However, his track record as an assistant is outstanding.