Back last June, there were rumors aplenty about who would replace P.J. Carlesimo as Nets head coach. Just as quickly as a name would be floated, it would be knocked down. No, it wouldn't be George Karl or Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw, team sources confirmed. And it certainly wasn't going to Mike Dunleavy Sr., now rumored as a candidate for the Knicks job.
No, the Nets --and particularly ownership in the person of Dmitry Razumov, Mikhail Prokhorov's No. 2-- wanted someone fresh, not a retread. They also wanted someone who could be the face of the franchise, a coach they believed could be the face of the franchise, around for a decade or more, "our Gregg Popovich," as one put it. Prokhorov and Billy King both have said they were reluctant, but Kidd convinced them he was ready.
It sure didn't look at way in November and December. Pundits said he didn't do anything, one, David Thorpe, called him "the worst coach in the league." Then came "Cup Gate" and the "reassignment" of Lawrence Frank. Suddenly, it turned around, with Kidd taking the adversity of losing Brook Lopez for the season and making it a positive. Along the way, he brought out the best in Shaun Livingston, Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee, The result was a 2014 run that included a 15-game home winning streak and two Coach of the Month awards, not often given to "the worst coach in the league.:
As Andy Vasquez writes Sunday, "Kidd never changed a thing. He never expressed doubt." It's all part of his "persona ... the dry, offbeat sense of humor; his unwillingness to reveal much, if any, useful information; and the underlying edgy confidence that Kidd believes in what he is doing, even when others do not.... "
Remind you of anyone?
- Nets' Jason Kidd develops coaching persona - Andy Vasquez - The Record