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Brooklyn Nets Choose Jason Kidd as Head Coach

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After just retiring just ten days ago, Kidd returns to the court in a different uniform.

Brooklyn Nets Choose Jason Kidd as Head Coach

Last night the Brooklyn Nets announced that, former player, Jason Kidd will be taking over as head coach. Kidd, who retired from the NBA with the New York Knicks only ten days ago, has signed a three year contract with the Nets. Talk about a quick turn around time. 

Kidd, 40, expressed his interest in the job with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov and others in a five hour meeting earlier this week with hopes of convincing them that even though he has no formal coaching experience, he was the right candidate for the job. Also in that meeting was Brian Shaw, Indiana Pacers associate coach, who apparently was out-shined by Kidd's enthusiasm. Prokhorov had this to say yesterday: "Jason Kidd has a long and legendary history with the Nets and with the city of New York. He has the fire in the belly we need, and has achieved as a player everything the Brooklyn Nets are striving to achieve. We believe he will lead us there. Welcome home, Jason." The Nets will formally introduce Kidd this afternoon at the Barclays Center. 

Among others, one main reason Kidd had an advantage over Shaw in the decision is his relationship with Nets point guard Deron Williams. Kidd and Williams have always had an interesting bond, Kidd's role being a kind of big brother and motivator. With Williams being a staple to the Nets success, they believe that having Kidd as the head coach will only help with his performance. This is important to note because when Williams is good, so are the Nets, and when he starts to fall, so do they. Williams tweeted this last night:

But more than just a friend and possible key motivator to Williams, Kidd has a larger than life presence about him being the superstar player that he was. As a future Hall of Famer, he undoubtedly gets respect without having to ask for it. His hiring comes at a great time for the Nets too. The team won 49 games, and though they lost the first round of the playoffs in 7 games losing streak to the Chicago Bulls, it was their first postseason appearance in six years. 

Long time NBA writer Dave D'Alessandro calls it "the boldest move in their [Nets] history." Another critique of the Nets decision was NBA legend Patrick Ewing Jr., writing on twitter that he was angry that his father wasn't looked at more for the job. Last night he tweeted: 

Though Kidd has no professional coaching experience, his credentials on the court with the Nets are outstanding. He led his team to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, when the Nets played in New Jersey. He also averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 assists, 7.2 rebounds per game, and is the career leader in many statistics for the Nets, where he played for six and a half years. Even though these are impressive, it's still highly unusual for a player to make the jump straight from retiring to head coach. 

Most retired NBA players-turned-coach wait a few years before jumping into the position, often taking an assistant job first. Avery Johnson retired in 2004 and took the assistant coaching job with the Dallas Mavericks in 2004-2005 season, going on to become head coach later in the season. Mike Dunleavy Sr. retired in 1985, taking time away from basketball before becoming an assistant coach in 1986, then head coach of the L.A. clippers in 1990. Doc Rivers retired in 1996 and became the Orlando Magic's head coach in 1999. 

Nevertheless, we'll see if his high basketball IQ will transfer into his coaching career in the upcoming season. Kidd had this statement to make last night: 

"This is a tremendous opportunity to be named head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and it's a role I have been studying for over the course of my playing days," said the 40-year-old Kidd, who retired as a player earlier this month. "Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable, and that's how I expect to coach this basketball team. I am truly excited about this next phase of my basketball career." Via ESPN

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