John Schuhmann and Alex Raskin take a look at how far Jason Kidd has come since January 1 ... and it's not just the 27-12 record or making them a top 10 defensive club. It's about putting players in the "right position," a phrase he used (modestly) in his career to describe how he made teammates better.
Schuhmann describes the transition with some help from Billy King, who admitted he had to convinced by team ownership to hire Kidd.
Kidd will tell you that he and the team grew together, that it took "everybody" to get through those first two months. King believes the improvement started with the coach.
"I think he developed the group," King told NBA.com, "by spending time talking to individual players and the players as a group. I think he molded them to become a group and be one, rather than be individuals. It comes from sharing the basketball, being accountable.
"And that was him from the beginning. He challenged the guys to share the basketball, to sacrifice for each other."
Schuhmann also doesn't shy away from naming names of pundits who trashed Kidd early on.
Raskin writes if a "'Most Improved Coach' award existed, he'd have to be high in the running." noting as well that teh players have been "universally supportive." He adds that is not always what he seems, the calm inside the storm.
"He's starting to hold guys accountable," said backup center Andray Blatche. "He's leading us right now. I think the reason why we're changing is because he's starting to get a little more aggressive as a coach."
Jason Collins, a former teammate of Kidd's and current Nets reserve, has witnessed Kidd's anger "as a player" and "as a coach," even if the seemingly mild-mannered Kidd has kept that away from the public.
For Kidd, the test will come in the playoffs, but as any Nets fans from a decade ago knows, that's when the guy who used to wear No. 5 shined.
- Kidd has come a long way in a few months - John Schuhmann - NBA.com
- All Kidding Aside, Jason Kidd Is Now a Coach - Alex Raskin - Wall Street Journal