The Brooklyn Nets will finally get a look at their new head coach, the legendary Jason Kidd, when he returns from his two-game DUI suspension to coach them against the Orlando Magic.
“I think our coaching staff did a great job of filling in for him,” Deron Williams said on Friday after the Nets victory against the Heat. “They’re going to be there no matter what. They did a great job, especially (Friday). They made a lot of adjustments out there and did a really good job.”
The Nets were 1-1 without him as they lost on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but then turned around to beat the two-time champion Miami Heat on Friday. The two games were good examples of both their potential and the problems they could have while they gel. Overall Joe Prunty did a solid job as the interim coach, but now it’s up to Kidd to step in and provide them with the leadership and guidance to make them a more successful and consistent team.
It seems like an unlikely, but appropriate pairing of Kidd and the Nets. Rumors last season were that the Nets would try to target Phil Jackson or perhaps Jeff Van Gundy, a big name coach with plenty of experience. Then they went ahead and hired Kidd, who was still in the league playing for the Knicks last season. The Nets might not have gotten the experienced coach, but they did get a big name and a guy who also happens to be one of the best players in the organization’s history.
There, of course, have been plenty of questions about whether or not Kidd is up to the task. However, he has played in more games than any other coach in the NBA”s history and he is also extremely well respected for his acumen as a point guard. Many players that he played alongside, including Jason Terry and Paul Pierce, have expressed that they fully expect him to be successful as a coach.
He’s also a decent fit in the respect that this is Deron Williams’ team. This is a guy who has not always gotten along with coaches, his actions led Jerry Sloan to quit in Utah and he criticized Avery Johnson publicly just before he was fired. But it seems like, because Kidd was such a similar player to D-Will in his playing days, that he should be a perfect fit. If the two are on the same page that means D-Will is spreading the ball around very well and if that’s happening the wins should be piling up.
The potential is there and tonight is the night that we finally get to see coach Kidd in action.
• Jeff Van Gundy had some harsh words about J-Kidd’s two-game suspension and thinks it should be longer. “The deterrent system is not working,” he said during Friday night’s ESPN broadcast of the game.
• The NBA announced on Saturday that Nets’ center Andray Blatche was fined $15,000 for an “obscene gesture” he made from the bench against the Heat on Friday night. That obscene gesture was the Sam Cassell dance that Blatche busted out after a big three from Joe Johnson.
• Magic Johnson was at the Nets/Heat game on Friday night and it sounds like he left a Nets fans. Magic tweeted, “I was at the Brooklyn Nets game last night…The Brooklyn Nets probably have the most talent and could possibly win the NBA Championship.”
• Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com compared Nets and Knicks owners Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan and the Nets owner came away sounding great. Howard wrote, “when it comes to having the acumen to run a business or build one from scratch, Prokhorov has demonstrated he is light years ahead of Dolan there too.
• Deron Williams is expected to be without any restrictions on Sunday night against the Magic. He played 22 minutes in the first game of the season and 27 minutes against the Heat. D-Will told reporters on Friday night that he feels like he’s just starting training camp and is sore from lack of playing time.
• Andrei Kirilenko played 12 minutes in his Nets debut against the Heat. He is expected to still have a minutes limit, but it should be increased. He told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday that his back felt fine against the Heat and that he had no restrictions.