This is usually a bitter sweet time of year for me as a sports fan. While my husband gears up for the NFL’s training camp and regular season play, I am bidding a sorrowful farewell to the NBA season. With the playoffs culminating in the next few days, I know this will be a tough transition for me.
As with any NBA offseason, there are some tweaks and adjustments all teams make to ensure a better level of success next year. The carousel of coaches and players has already begun. Many teams have pulled the trigger on major changes and the Brooklyn Nets seemed to refuse to be out done. They finished fairly well in the Eastern Conference standing with a first round playoff appearance. Notice they have not made a dent in the conference since the 2006-2007 seasons. While the Net’s fans flooded the arena in celebration of their new home and new found swagger, the front office and general manager was determined to set the standard of a winning culture
Brooklyn Nets’ GM Billy King announced after terminating interim coach P.J. Carlesimo for the next season, began a feverish search for his replacement. The qualifications were simple; “We need someone who understands the urgency of winning and has the ability to facilitate team synergy.” said King. No one could have imagined that the order would be filled by a former player turned NBA champion.
Jason Kidd seemed to be fast tracked through the interview process shortly after announcing his retirement from the league last week. What was amazing is he beat out some very qualified candidates. This bold move has sparked internet chatter and questions for the Net brass. Would this be the gutsy move to tip the scales in their favor or could it be a major bust?
Kidd comes with a lengthy resume of his own. He was a Co-Rookie of the Year with Hill during his first stint at Dallas in 95. Drafted into a team that won 13 of its 82 games the season before, Kidd led the Mavericks to a 36-46 record, which was the largest improvement in the league. Kidd was also voted as a starter into the All-Star game in his rookie season, a feat achieved by only a select few. After two seasons, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns where his numbers didn’t drop. At Phoenix, he transformed a mediocre side into playoff contenders. His record there saw him picked into three All-Star games and he even led the NBA in assists for three consecutive years. I am not questioning his ability. After all, we all have witnessed his composure on the sidelines for years as a ‘player coach’ for Phoenix, Dallas and as of last year, New York. His leadership and veteran prowls earned him a championship two years ago as a Maverick in Dallas. The whole league released a sigh of relief when the short yet powerful point guard from the University of California, Berkeley finally tasted victory in the finals.
At 39 years old, Jason Kidd has put miles on his legs and impacting millions with his stellar performance on the court. Many in the NBA front offices feel a bit leary about the success of a player turned coach so quickly. The average coach in the league has spent years investing and honing their skills under the tutalige of a head coach. They have worked their way up the ranks as an associate, then assistant coach long before they are considered worthy of taking the helm. With Kidd, he has skipped the usual process. No one can say whether it is good or bad just yet. But all can admit this is in line with the types of moves Nets owners are famous for making.
Time will tell if the move by the Nets is the making of a dynasty or adding more time to their rebuilding stage. With their new home in the heart of Brooklyn, the Barclays stand as the perfect place to launch a resurgence of basketball excellence.
By: Cherese Jackson