Kidd introduced as Nets new coach
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The letters screamed out in all-caps across the Barclays Center video board, punctuated by an exclamation point.
HELLO COACH! J.KIDD BACK WHERE HE BELONGS
There are differences, of course, between these Brooklyn Nets and the New Jersey Nets of Jason Kidd’s youth. The location and team name have been altered; the color scheme is different now.
But once again, the Nets have called upon Kidd to lead an organization they believe should be competing for NBA championships. First, as a player.
On Thursday, in front of his family, his star point guard and dozens of reporters, Kidd was introduced formally as the Nets new head coach by the team’s general manager Billy King.
“When this process started … we were looking for a coach that’s going to have great leadership, help us get to the direction we want to get to and get players to compete,” King said. “Jason Kidd embodies everything we were looking for.
“Any time you make a hire, I think it’s a risk. You’ve got to believe in your gut and the person.”
Kidd sat down in front of a microphone, a half-smile forming on his lips as he looked out into the sea of cameras and faces. There was a twinkle in his eye.
“When I played the game, I felt like I was an extension of the coach,” said Kidd, a trait that makes his move from playing to coaching not terribly surprising.
He impressed King with his leadership skills, knowledge of the league and familiarity with the Nets’ personnel. He spoke of wanting this team to play better defense and to play at a faster tempo offensively. Kidd said his analytical side comes naturally.
The speed of that transition — a week and a half after he announced his retirement as a player– is unconventional, but Kidd is not the only freshly retired player to try his hand at head coaching.
The Nets are hoping Kidd’s path will follow that of Larry Bird, whom the Pacers hired as their coach after his Hall of Fame career ended with the Boston Celtics. Bird’s Pacers reached one NBA Finals and … [For more on Jason Kidd introduced as Nets new coach, click here.]