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(November 3, 2013)
ORLANDO—Jason Kidd’s decision to become an NBA head coach did not come in an epiphany and it surely wasn’t based on a whim.
Kidd was a member of the 2008 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team coached by Mike Krzyzewski and the weeks with that team was like a basketball lab:
Ideas were continually exchanged.
Sets and plays were experimented with.
Defensive philosophies were dissected and merged.
“I felt like I knew something about the game and I wanted to be able to share some of the knowledge,’’ said Kidd. “I knew it wasn’t easy.’’
Kidd learned firsthand this evening just how difficult coaching in this league can be.
Maybe it was the fact that this was not the regular season opener or the home opener and the adrenaline was not pumping.
Maybe it was because the clocks were turned back an hour.
Maybe it was the odd, 6 o’clock tip.
Maybe it was a letdown after the huge win over the Miami Heat Friday night.
Whatever the case, after a sluggish first quarter in which the Nets were lucky to get out of with a 22-22 tie, they were on a three-second delay the rest of the way in a 107-86 loss to the Orlando Magic.
“These are pros,’’ said Kidd. “Every game is going to be different. We didn’t execute defensively when we needed to.’’
Even when Kidd called his first timeout, there was a time warp.
He called it with 7:45 left in third after Orlando had surged to a 56-42 lead. It took six seconds before the timeout was acknowledged.
The Nets (1-2) never really closed. They got 21 from Brook Lopez and 16 from Paul Pierce, the only two Nets in double figures.
Orlando rookie Victor Oladipo was Magic, scoring 19 points and throwing down a 180-degree slam with 10:14 left that gave Orlando an 82-61 lead.
“I think they straight out, outplayed us,’’ said Lopez.
One night doesn’t make a coaching career but this was a tough first regular season game on the bench for Kidd.
Kidd went into this gig with his eyes open.
“I saw the hours that Coach K puts in for the Olympic team, being around coaches, seeing them at breakfast meetings, scouting teams doing that type of stuff,’’ he said. “I saw the time and work that they put in.’’
On June 12th Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets set the NBA world buzzing when general manager Billy King, knowing he had grand plans for this season, hired Kidd, even though the former point guard had never spent a day as a head coach on any level.
“After I sat down and spoke with Jason the first time, I didn’t see it as a gamble,’’ said King. “He has an amazing basketball mind and I thought he could communicate that.’’
Communication has been one of Kidd’s buzzwords since taking the job.
He has never shied away from acknowledging he has a lot to learn about coaching and certainly a lesson was learned in Orlando. It could not have been the start he hoped for after serving a two-game suspension for a DUI arrest in the summer of 2012.
“I thought the first one was when I saw you guys here this summer,’’ Kidd said referring to the Nets summer league games here in Orlando. “That’s when I was nervous.’’
Kidd was steely-eyed after the loss. He knows there are 79 regular season games remaining.
“You can only learn from it,’’ Kidd said of his coaching career. “Success, or if things don’t go well, you can only learn from it.’’