Coach makes return to Brooklyn, which is struggling to find its way
POSTED: Nov 19, 2014 12:28 PM ET
Jason Kidd's Bucks are 6-5 with a top-5 defense while his old team is struggling to find its way at 4-6.
Jason Kidd makes his return to Brooklyn on Wednesday, bringing his Milwaukee Bucks in to face his old team. Kidd left the Nets after trying to take over the front office and landed in Milwaukee, where they already had a head coach.
It was an awkward scenario all around, and karma seemed to put Kidd in charge of the team with the league's worst record last season. But three weeks into the new year, Kidd's Bucks are 6-5, with a defense that ranks in the top five. They're the only team that's knocked off the 10-1 Grizzlies, and they picked up another quality win in Miami on Sunday.
The Nets meanwhile, are in a similar position as they were with Kidd at this time last year, searching for answers with nothing to really hang their hat on. Through 10 games, they have no quality wins and three rather embarrassing losses, including Monday's home loss to the short-handed Heat, who got a total of 29 minutes from their four best players. The Nets enter Wednesday's game with a four-game losing streak.
"We still haven't put together a full 48 minutes of basketball," Deron Williams said Monday. "We need a win, no matter who it's against."
The Nets' players haven't shown any ill will toward Kidd and team executive Irina Pavlova tweeted Tuesday that Nets fans should focus on the good that Kidd did for the franchise (both as a player and as a coach), and not the way he left.
But Barclays Center fans are certainly going to give Kidd the business on Wednesday, and their old coach's return may be coming at just the right time for a team that has yet to find something on either end of the floor that they can win with.
Lionel Hollins replaced Kidd with the intention of making the Nets a more cohesive unit offensively. At times, the team has shared the ball well and looked strong on that end of the floor.
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"We know if we play the right way and play together," Williams said, "we can be a heck of an offensive team."
But more often than not, especially in the second halves of games, the Nets have reverted to old habits, stopping the offense to play one-on-one. Brooklyn ranks 26th in passes per game and 29th in assist rate, recording assists on just 50 percent of their baskets.
The Nets haven't shown any consistency on defense either. Only three teams have allowed their opponents more attempts and a higher percentage in the restricted area.
After Monday's loss, Hollins said his team is "a long way" from establishing an identity, one that wins games, at least.
"I can tell you that they have an identity," Hollins said, "and it's not very good. We got to get better."
The Nets' best game so far was the last time there was a little juice in the building, Nov. 7 against the Knicks. So maybe Kidd's presence and an amped-up crowd is exactly what this team needs to stay focused and play 48 minutes of decent basketball.
Of course, if their losing streak hits five against a team with lesser talent being led by their old coach, things could look a lot worse than they do now.
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