By Ray Hamill
It’s been an interesting start to Jason Kidd’s career as a head coach – and certainly more entertaining than the Nets’ on-court antics – but you have to wonder if he isn’t in over his head.
But then again, this shouldn’t really surprise us.
He went straight from the court to the head coaching ranks without learning the ropes and serving his apprenticeship, and no matter how good a player he once was, that quick path to the top rarely ends in success.
Just because you know how to drive a car, that doesn’t make you a good mechanic.
Larry Bird had success, but he surrounded himself with experienced assistants whom he listened to, and while Kidd has tried to do the same, it hasn’t fared so well.
Five weeks into his debut coaching campaign, Kidd has already served a two-game suspension for a DUI plea, has baffled us with his court-side strategical awareness (or lack of it), and has overseen arguably the most disappointing team in the NBA, which happens to have the biggest payroll in the NBA.
And just when poor old Jason thought things were going bad, they got even worse this past week, first with “Spill-gate” for which he was fined a hefty $50,000, a punishment that paled compared to the embarrassment of it all, and second when he essentially fired top assistant Lawrence Frank, who was brought in to guide Kidd.
The players (and front office) have backed Kidd over the decision, which is a good sign, with the head coach citing a difference in philosophies, “that’s all.”
Aside from the fact that he probably should have figured out there was a difference in philosophies around the time he thought about hiring Frank, it’s probably a good move to get rid of him.
Frank is certainly not the only problem for the vastly underachieving Nets (far from it), but as a head coach, and especially a new head coach, Kidd can’t have an assistant constantly questioning him and getting in shouting matches with him. He had no choice but to demote Frank.
Now, the question is whether it will begin to solve the Nets’ woes, or whether Kidd really is in over his head.