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Jason Kidd was asked Thursday how much he appreciates having Lawrence Frank, the former Nets and Detroit Pistons head coach, as one of his assistants.
“If I told you,” said Kidd, “I would probably be shortchanging him.”
Kidd was asked today about his other lead assistant, John Welch, who is the ying to Frank's yang - less vocal and more offensive-minded.
“I'm very lucky,'' said Kidd. “Everybody talks about Lawrence, but Welch was one of the guys I wanted.”
Kidd has one of the deepest and most experienced coaching staffs in the NBA and that advantage will be quickly employed. The NBA, as expected, announced today it has suspended Kidd for the first two games of the regular season for pleading guilty to driving while ability impaired, more than a year ago.
“We all knew that was going to come,” said Kidd. “We have to be responsible and the league came down with the suspension and I accept that. My coaching staff is more than capable of stepping up for two games.”
In addition to Frank, who should be in the Guinness Book of World Records under the category of, 'Most time devoted to studying and coaching defense,' and Welch, who learned the art of offense under George Karl, Kidd will lean on assistants Roy Rogers, Joe Prunty, Eric Hughes and Charles Klask for the season opener Oct. 30 at Cleveland and home opener Nov. 1 against Miami.
When asked if that staff leaves Brooklyn in good shape, veteran Jason Terry said, “Great shape.”
Kidd's regular-season coaching debut will be Nov. 3 in Orlando. He is allowed to attend shootarounds the day of games, but must vacate the arena two hours prior to tip-off.
Nets GM Billy King released a statement saying that the penalty is consistent with what the league has done in past cases.
“We look forward to Jason leading our team versus Orlando and the rest of the year,” said King.
Kidd clearly has learned from his error in judgment. He spoke to students at Longwood and Southampton High Schools, not far from where his arrest took place, stressing the importance of decision-making.
He was reminded today of how fickle life can be. Rodney Rogers, one of his former and favorite teammates, visited training camp. Rogers was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a 2008 ATV accident in Raleigh. He was not drinking.
“You know it's ironic that one of my teammates comes today and how we make our decisions and how fragile it is for things to change,” Kidd said.
Kidd said he has yet to decide who will take the head coaching responsibilities for the two games, but it likely will be Frank, who has nine years of head-coaching experience, seven with the Nets.
“He works extremely hard,” Kidd said. “He's the reason I wanted him. Because I'd seen him up close as a player so I knew what he brings to the game as a coach.”
Welch spent the last eight seasons as an assistant to George Karl in Denver, where the scoreboard lightbulbs often needed changing. With a team as experienced as the Nets, not every play needs to be scripted, which is where Welch's experience could be invaluable.
“They understand how to play that game,” Kidd said. “And how to play that game in the sense of just playing the game without plays.”
With depth on his staff, Kidd is confident his team will be ready.