It's not just about blaming Coach Kidd, it's also about effort

Maddie Meyer

Fire up the hash tags (#FireKidd), tell us you knew this was going to happen, but the reality is, the Nets made a decision to bring in a rookie coach in Jason Kidd and the team, and their fans, need to live with that decision.

The 3-10 Nets are not the title-contending team we all marked them to be this summer. They're down four key players, including their two best players in Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. They have a rookie coach who, yes, does look lost out there at times and is already dealing with a rough patch in getting on the same page as his main assistant coach, Lawrence Frank.

Truth is, though, Lionel Hollins, George Karl or Phil Jackson would not have coached a Williams-less, Lopez-less team to a 10-3 start. Yes, Kidd has not been able to get this team to do the basketball things that basketball players are supposed to do on the basketball court, and you can argue that's on him.

But, that also leads me to wonder: If it's simply a systematic breakdown, why do basketball players -- at this level and with a resume as deep and storied as the ones that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett hold -- need to be motivated to play basketball and need to be taught to adjust?

Take a look at this quote from Paul Pierce after Sunday's loss

"We got to understand teams aren’t going to play the same way they did in the first half as they did in the second half because teams make adjustments, especially when they are down," Pierce said. "And we got to realize that and adjust with that."

From an accountability standpoint, that certainly falls on Jason Kidd. However, for a team that's looking for answers as to why they're struggling in the third quarter, you can't not point the finger at the veterans like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson, who shouldn't be immune to much of, if not as much of, the criticism that Coach Kidd is receiving.

Pierce taking a swipe at Kidd seems justified under these circumstances, but the reality is, everyone is to blame. With Kidd benching the starters during the start of the fourth quarter in what was still a winnable game against Detroit, the shot at Pierce and Garnett, in particular, was also justified. No effort, no play.

Garnett at least recognizes the blame, saying after Sunday's loss, "As players we have to be accountable, including myself, and come out and do whatever it is that we got to do and apply it." A great soundbite, but, that old cliche: actions > words.

Two floor generals who, while in the midst of a then 4-game losing streak and in what was a highly winnable game, couldn't make the adjustments themselves? If a coach doesn't recognize it, yes, that's a poor, poor coaching job. If two future first-ballot Hall of Famers don't see it and adjust on the basketball court, well, what's the explanation?

There's no defending the job Kidd is doing right now. It's certainly well within any fan's right to criticize his 3-10 start, but at what point do the fans turn their attention to and look at the "effort," which can't be coached, only reprimanded?

Bottom line is: Kidd is frustrated, the players are frustrated, the Russians are frustrated, the fans are frustrated.

Still, they/we have no answers. To me, it's a matter of style, effort and health. You can't change the third, but the first two you can absolutely change, with the style falling on the coach and the effort on the players.

So, while you call for Kidd to be fired, and while there are minor swipes at the coach from inside the locker room, there should also be a voice -- as equally demanding and hash tag-y -- calling for a change in effort. Calling for the players to do their part in turning this around. Why did Kidd play Toko, Mirza, Tyshawn, Anderson and Plumlee in the fourth? Because of the lack effort we saw in the third quarter by the starters, not because he was trolling the entire Brooklyn fan base.

A "simple" firing of Jason Kidd isn't what's going to get this thing turned around. It's going to take a complete team and coaching effort. One that holds everyone accountable, not just the head coach.

Effort-related reading:

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