Jason Kidd, whose early struggles were chronicled by pundits but who then turned things around big-time in January, has been named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.
ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk first reported the news.
Jason Kidd earned Coach of the Month honors for Nets going 10-3 in January.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) February 3, 2014
The future Hall of Fame point guard was named the team's Head Coach in July, days after retiring from the NBA as a player. As the season opened, Kidd came under fire as the Nets, once considered a championship contender, fell apart early. Kidd not only was on the short end of several blowouts, including a 30-point lashing by the Knicks, his low-key coaching style came under attack.
Then, two incidents made things worse: the "re-assignment" of Lawrence Frank and CupGate where he was fined $50,000 for spilling a soda to get an extra "timeout" at the end of a close game with the Lakers. The tactic didn't work.
In January, things turned around. The Nets needed 29 games to reach their first 10 wins, then only 11 to get their next 10.. as Kidd simplified the team defense and went small --or long, if you prefer-- and the team suddenly turned the corner as if they had a collective New Year's resolution to avoid bad play. After a blowout loss in San Antonio on New Year's Eve, the Nets came back two days later in OKC to win on a Joe Johnson buzzer beater, the first of five straight wins. After losing to Toronto with a shortened roster, Kidd's team won five more straight before losing the last two games of the month to finish 10-3. The run took the Nets into playoff contention for the first time.
The change was evident in the numbers, as Mike Mazzeo tweets...
#Nets efficiency ratings in January: 13th offense, 10th defense/Pre-2014: 18th offense, 28th defense— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) February 3, 2014
Kidd, who won NBA Player of the Month honors twice as a member of the Nets (November 2001 and December 2002) and once as a member of the Phoenix Suns (April 1999) becomes the fourth person in NBA history to win both coach and player of the month honors, joining Larry Bird, Larry Drew and Jeff Hornacek. Kidd also becomes the second person to win both honors with the same franchise, joining Hornacek.
Among those offering congratulations to Kidd on the award, his son, T.J. Kidd...
Dave Joerger of the Memphis Grizzlies, also a rookie head coach, was named Coach of the Month in the West.