Perhaps the smartest tweet we've seen on the possibility of Jason Kidd as head coach didn't come from a writer or ex-teammate or pundit, but a fan. It was succinct and made perfect sense.
@netsdaily If Kidd wants the job that bad I say give it to him. Players will listen and pressure on him to succeed makes it a win-win for us— Omar Moussa (@omaregy92) June 10, 2013
The logic behind tweet is simple: Jason Kidd succeeds at that which he takes on. He was traded to the Nets after a domestic assault and some disappointing playoff performances. He proceeded to take a team with less than 30 games playoff experience total to the Finals, the youngest Finals team in 15 years. Then, when that run was seen as a fluke he did it again, winning 10 straight playoff games, one of the greatest runs in NBA history.
He wanted out of New Jersey because he didn't believe ownership had a commitment to winning. He succeeded in that too, demanding and getting a trade to the Mavericks and taking them to a championship at age 38.
He made himself one of the game's top three-point shooters, after starting his career as "Ason" Kidd, as in "no J." He finished his career behind only Ray Allen and Reggie Miller in three pointers made. Not to mention ending up No. 2 in assists and steals, No. 3 in triple doubles, and an astonishing 28-0, with two Olympic gold medals, in international competition. He achieved all of that because he really wanted it. And as Tim Walsh will tell anyone who asks, Kidd was the toughest player he ever worked with, and it's not even close.
And by all reports, he "really" wants to be the coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Really, really wants it, as one source put it. He has already made a significant sacrifice as Frank Isola of the Daily News has pointed out: he willingly left $6 million on the table to make his pursuit of the Nets job less complicated. He could have negotiated a buyout with James Dolan, which would have taken time, but instead he moved on.
He also is committed to the Nets as a franchise, approaching the club, not waiting for them to approach him. He was aggressive in that as well. And when Kidd is aggressive, we have all seen the results.
We know ALL the negatives. Every Nets fan over the age of 16 does: the migraine headache, the coach killing (if he quits, is that a coach suicide?); the off-court "issues" -- the high-profile divorce, the drinking bouts with teammates, the DUI which has yet to be resolved nearly a year after he wrapped his SUV around a light pole on Long Island. That last episode in fact is the most troubling. But we also know he can embrace rehab. After his domestic abuse case with then-wife Joumanna in 2001, he not only went into rehab, as per a court order, but extended his stay with the counselor far beyond what the judge required.
We also know the spotty record of great players who become coaches without the benefit of an assistant coaching gig. Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas didn't do well. Larry Bird, Mark Jackson and Doc Rivers did. But every subset of coaches has a spotty record. (If you want a sure thing, maybe you hire someone who was a role player at a service academy --like Mike Krzyzewski at West Point or Gregg Popovich at the Air Force Academy. Small sample size but it works.)
We do scratch our heads when hearing Kidd might not be "ready." On the court, he is more than ready. Nineteen years, 10 All-Star games, six selections as All-NBA; nine selections as All-Defense, two Olympic gold medals, and finally that elusive ring with Dallas. Those who think he needs experience as an assistant should go back and re-read all the copy about Kidd's inspirational role in the Knicks' early success last season. The single most ludicrous thing we heard is that Kidd could benefit from being a sportscaster as if time in the booth would help Jason Kidd see the court better!
The Nets do need assurances from Kidd, set in stone, that his wild days are over. That is the biggest issue for us ... and it's a big one.
Still, here's the bottom line for the Nets. In their second year in Brooklyn, they have the opportunity to create a culture an some excitement in the mold of Jason Kidd: tough, persistent, winning. A little spin and some time and you can add loyalty to the mix as well. Would it be a stick in the eye for the denizens of Seventh and 33rd? Oh yeah. Just like it was in 2001.
It's not up to us, but Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov could do a lot worse.