If there is ever a situation in the NBA where a recently retired player could step in and become a very good coach, it is this situation with Jason Kidd.
In baseball, the best managers are typically former catchers. They have experience managing the pitching staff, understand the nuances of calling a game and making defensive shifts. But they also have the experience of being an everyday player - both in the field, at the plate and in the locker room. If you look at MLB right now, I think something like 12 managers are former catchers.
The same holds true in basketball with PGs. PGs are the manager on the floor and an extension of the head coach. They understand the entire game and have a very good concept of spacing and rotations. Jason Kidd is not just a former PG. This guy is one of the greatest PGs on the planet (Ever). I was a season ticket holder throughout his entire run in NJ and have never before seen a player with a better court vision and basketball IQ. His sense of spacing and where not only his teammates but the defense and the ball would be was uncanny. His drive and competitive fire is largely unrivaled by this generation of player.
JKidd played 19 years in the NBA. This is not a guy who had an average 10 year career and then decided he wanted to coach. He played 19 years. As one of the top 5 PGs in the league for 17 of those years. He is well versed in the Xs and Os of play calling. He has played for different coaches, in different systems and even semi different eras of basketball. He gets the game. Sitting on a bench as an assistant or working for YES Network providing color commentary is not going to improve his fundamental BBIQ or understanding of the game.
For those arguing for Brian Shaw - Jason Kidd was a vastly superior player than Shaw and has been exposed to as much, if not more basketball than has Shaw. Kidd will also command a much higher level of respect from the current roster than would Shaw. And if you are worried about an inexperienced head coach, Shaw is also an inexperienced head coach - who has never had to deal as the front line to the media, game planning, player relationships, etc. The relationship of an assistant coach with a roster is much different than that of a head coach and that same roster. That is the nature of the business.
Our roster is largely set in stone for the next 3 years. We are largely tied into DWill, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. Rightly or wrongly, DWill has been annointed as the franchise savior. Rightly or wrongly, DWill also has the reputation of a coach killer. DWill will have no choice but to toe the line with JKidd running the show. First and foremost, JKidd is a future first ballot HOF PG who DWill has acknowledged was someone whom he modeled his game after. JKidd is the most successful player in the history of the NJ Nets franchise (I can see an argument for Dr. J). If DWill has issues with JKidd, the media and fanbase will run him out of town. He has to toe the line. Plus, what other coach could help DWill to improve his game and realize his full potential more than JKidd?
JKidd is also one of the most respected veteran players in the league over the last decade +. How many players have said on the record that they would love to play with JKidd? The veterans on this team (Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace) will relate to JKidd and will most likely embrace playing for him. His offense will be a PG centric offense that utilizes pick and rolls, pick and pops and transition. This offensive system benefits not only DWill, JJ and Gerald Wallace, but is tailor made for Brook Lopez as well. Want to see Marshon develop? I have complete confidence that JKidd's offense will put Marshon in a position to not only succeed, but to replicate the success of Kerry Kittles - as a shooting guard who gets out in transition, uses his long arms on defense and can score from inside/outside.
Oh, and who is going to be a bigger recruiting tool for the Nets? Jason Kidd or Brian Shaw? For eternity, good players will always want to play with good players. That has always been the case and will always be the case. This is why everyone wanted to play with JKidd. As the league gets younger and younger, I think you will see a natural shift towards coaches who are better able to relate to the players. JKidd understands how to mentor the younger players, how to put guys in a position to succeed, how to handle the media, how to handle veteran minutes, etc.
I think this is a slam dunk hiring. Jason Kidd is not going to lobby or accept this job if he doesn't feel he is ready. And he is not going to be a rookie coach on an island. He will have a group of veteran assistant coaches to help transform him from a HOF PG to a HOF coach. I never understood the fascination with Brian Shaw. Lionel Hollins I understand. George Karl I support. But for this team, at this stage, and with this roster, Jason Kidd is the most logical and responsible hire the Brooklyn Nets can make to lead them to a championship.