Stan Van Gundy was one of the names rumored for the Brooklyn Nets starting coaching job during the offseason. Obviously, he didn’t get the job, but, in hindsight, it sounds like he’s pretty happy that he didn’t as he blasted the team this week and said that they looked like a “bush-league organization” (and that was before they walked off the court early in San Antonio).
“I think with all the injuries it’s been hard to evaluate Jason Kidd,” Van Gundy said on NBC Sports Radio recently. “It’s been easy to jump on him not just because of the record, but the things coming out of their locker room, the situation with Lawrence Frank, the incident of spilling the drink on the floor. I mean this has looked like a bush league organization much of the year, they don’t play with much effort at all, a very uninspired team. But at the same time they had so many people hurt you just don’t know. And now they are not they are not going to be healthy all year…
“You can do whatever you want with the coaching situation but it is not going to change the situation with their roster,” he continued. “They just don’t have a lot of options — they don’t have draft picks, they are way over the salary cap. They are probably in the worst situation of any team in the NBA right now.”
Van Gundy is referring to L-Frank’s “re-assignment” where he was basically removed from the team and only writes reports based on watching the team on TV during games. The drink incident was when Kidd had Tyshawn Taylor walk into him, thus spilling his drink on the court to give the Nets an extra time-out (Kidd was fined $50k for the move). And when he said that they won’t be healthy all year, he’s mentioning Brook Lopez‘s season ending foot injury.
Now this could all be seen as Van Gundy being bitter about not getting the job, although he didn’t exactly come close to getting the job anyway, but he’s really hit the nail on the head with these criticisms.
The Nets made a critical mistake in hiring Jason Kidd. He hasn’t been the only reason this team has been bad and could eventually turn into a good coach one day, but this was a team with a small 1-2 year window to be good. Hiring a coach that would be dealing with growing pains in that same 1-2 year span was extremely misguided and a lot of what has happened since is a result of that.
Kidd has struggled to manage player’s minutes, manage timeouts, manage injuries, manage his coaching staff and it has reflected poorly on the organization as a result. Now what was seen only a few months ago as a very promising team is now perceived as a team in the toughest situation in sports — they are a mess, have mortgaged a large portion of their future by trading draft picks, and don’t have the roster flexibility to fix it anytime soon.
At this point it seems that the Nets would be best off trying to deal some players to recoup the loss of their many draft picks. They might as well keep Kidd too because nobody they bring in will magically heal Lopez’s foot or take years off of Paul Pierces‘ and Kevin Garnett‘s lives.
This is a kangaroo-team and firing Kidd isn’t the quick fix. Instead, maybe they should consider replacing general manager Billy King as he’s the one who put them in this mess to begin with and isn’t likely going to be the one to turn it around in the future.