The big question the reporters have is whether or not Jason Kidd can coach a team to a championship as a rookie coach. Among the players that have chimed in, both on the Nets and around the league, nobody doubts that he can and will be successful. It’s going to take some time before we find out if this concern is legitimate or not, but on his first day of practice things went well.
One voice that wasn’t often heard was Jason Kidd’s. He would step in and make a point when he saw the need, or chat with a player on the side when he felt he needed a word. It was a setup that seemed to perfectly fit Kidd’s low-key personality, and the players seemed to buy into it as well.
“It looked good,” said Jason Terry, who spent several years playing alongside Kidd in Dallas, including winning the 2011 title together, before adding with a smile, “It almost looked like they already rehearsed it.”
“It just looks genuine, it looks second-hand, second nature. Again, (Lawrence Frank) is out there leading the drills and Jason comes in and makes his points and, boom, we break and get it done.”
Kidd’s first official practice as the team’s head coach was deemed a success by everyone involved, as you would expect on the opening day of training camp for any team, let alone one with the talent and expectations this Nets team carries. What stood out was the intensity and energy in the gym, a marked change for a team that last season often seemed to lack that kind of spark, to the point that Kidd called it a “vanilla” group after being hired this offseason.
Honestly, I would be more surprised if he screwed up the first practice. At this point he’s 40 years old so this might have been the 35th start of training camp he’s gone through. It’s his 20th as a pro in the NBA. Little stuff like this should be second nature to him by now. Then consider how many veterans that have also been through it a dozen times that he’s leading.
The tough part comes later. The tough, in-the-moment decisions that are going to make the difference between him being a good and bad coach. That won’t be long now though until we see how he does with the pressure on.