J.Kidd, Back Where He Belongs
BROOKLYN—Thursday at Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets introduced former Net Jason Kidd as the team's new head coach, the Nets' 18th since joining the NBA in 1976. The announcement comes just 10 days after Kidd retired following a 19-year playing career that included 6 1/2 seasons with the Nets, including back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
"I'm nervous, you know – I'm a rookie," Kidd quipped. "I go from being one of the oldest players in the league to now a rookie coach. I'm very excited about this challenge. I think here in Brooklyn we have a special opportunity to achieve that status and that's to be a championship-caliber team."
Kidd set up a meeting with Nets General Manager Billy King and impressed the team's architect with the depth of knowledge in his presentation, which included detailed breakdowns of how to best utilize the roster, whether player by player or as a unit. Believing in his gut, Kidd's leadership and the "high ceiling" he envisions, King made a decision to partner up with Kidd as they set out to build something lasting.
"The one thing I think everyone knows about Jason is that he is someone who always works hard," King said. "And that's something that I think will translate into coaching. I think if you know Jason, you know that he doesn't just take something and say he wants to be good at it – he wants to be great."
The fledgling coach takes over a team that won 49 games last season, earning the Eastern Conference's No. 4 seed before falling to the Bulls in a seven-game First Round series. The core players – Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace – are all returning, and Kidd has a particularly strong relationship with Williams; the two both participated in various USA Basketball events, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"You need to start with structure," Kidd said. "Understanding we are here to build something, and it starts with your leader. I think Deron is one of the best in the league at that, and he's our best player. We will also need him to relay the message. This is a veteran ball club, and it's simple: You've got to play hard, you've got to play defense. We will grow together, and that will make us special."
Visit the Jason Kidd Presser Photo Gallery for more from Thursday's event.