Kirilenko: “Jason Kidd couldn’t handle the pressure”


Andrei Kirilenko said that Jason Kidd couldn't handle the pressure in Brooklyn. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II.

Andrei Kirilenko said that Jason Kidd couldn’t handle the pressure in Brooklyn. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II.

Jason Kidd made a big splash earlier this offseason when he made a power-play for the Brooklyn Nets’ general manager position, that is currently held by Billy King, before he took off for the Milwaukee Bucks. Nobody really trashed Kidd for the move, at least publicly.

King, who should have been the most upset by the move, didn’t say anything, Mason Plumlee said it was a surprise. The worst criticism was from new head coach Lionel Hollins, who said at his press conference that he is just in Brooklyn to coach, and that was very tame.

But now, for the first time, one of the Brooklyn Nets has publicly bashed Kidd for the move and while it wasn’t over the top it certainly was to the point. Speaking with the Russian sports tabloid SovSport, Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko laid out the biggest criticism of Kidd yet.

“So the pressure is huge and Kidd couldn’t handle it,” Kirilenko told SovSport (translated by “Or maybe didn’t want to.”

“Basically he was not able to do much of anything, if you look at the big picture – we have to admit that fact,” Kirilenko said. “There were objective reasons. Our starting center, Brook Lopez, injured himself early and was out for the whole season. There were health problems with other players. But the serious goals set before the club were not cancelled. We were serious about fighting for the title.

“When Kidd became head [coach] of the team, no one really knew what to expect,” he added. “Of course he had colossal experience as a player but no coaching experience. Or reputation. At the beginning it was difficult. What else could it be when you’re losing more games than you’re winning?”

Kirilenko may have a point. Kidd never seemed comfortable as the head coach of the Nets. It may have been due to the fact that he was a rookie head coach, but there were warning flags all season from the time he had Lawrence Frank reassigned to the spilling of the soda. He was bush league from the start and it may have been a situation where he felt that he needed to be in a low pressure situation (and Milwaukee probably has the lowest expectations in the NBA right now).

On the otherhand, Kidd never really backed down from anyone. He kept calm and repeated the message he wanted to get across to reporters no matter how many times the same question was asked. He also managed to turn the team around and in the process took it from one that resembled nothing of his playing style to one that fit more to his mold (even if they were one of the slowest paced teams that ran iso-plays for Joe Johnson all year).

Either way, Kidd is out of town and at least one of his former players, who would likely know best, thinks that he couldn’t hack it in Brooklyn. If that is the case before the Nets even have a strong following in their hometown imagine what it could have been like in a few years with the media and a more entrenched fan-base breathing down his neck.

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