Nets have nothing to lose with Jason Kidd at helm

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Jason Kidd’s seen a lot in his NBA career. And ten days after he announced he was finished playing in the NBA, the Nets organization decided he should begin his coaching career in Brooklyn.

As a player, Kidd’s court vision helped him tally the second-most assists in NBA history. His game and playing style seem tailor-made for a successful coaching career. He wasn’t just passing for the Mavericks, Suns, Nets and Knicks – he was rebounding and racking up triple doubles as well.

Kidd’s going to need a sort of all-around approach to guide a Nets team which hasn’t enjoyed much playoff success since appearing in consecutive Finals appearances in the early 2000s. Kidd led them then and he’ll need an on-board Deron Williams to lead them again next season.

The great unknown

Thursday, the team officially welcomed Kidd as their head coach and Williams was in attendance. He acknowledged to the New York Daily News the team hiring Kidd was risky but a risk worth taking:

“I think he’s been the leader everywhere he has gone,” Williams explained. “He kind of changed the culture everywhere he went and won. So that’s what we need.”

CSNBayArea.com’s Ray Ratto compared the Kidd hire to the Golden State Warriors taking a chance on Mark Jackson. The NBA veteran point guard had been retired seven years before he was brought on board to coach. In his first season, the team failed to make the playoffs. This season, Steph Curry and company made serious strides, splitting the first four games of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Spurs before falling in six.

Kidd is so fresh off of playing, it’s hard to project how successful he can be if at all. Ratto writes:

“It makes no sense. It makes perfect sense. And nobody has even the slightest idea of how it will play out.”

Kidd’s play

As a head coach, Kidd’s media obligations will increase tenfold from what he’s used to now. On the same day he was announced as head coach, it was also reported the 40-year-old is expected in court next week for a drunken driving arrest from last year.

Sweeping indiscretions and mistakes under the rug and hoping they pass becomes much more difficult as the head coach of a ball club. You have to face the music all season and Kidd will have to do just that.

Getting past the first round of the playoffs should be the team’s immediate goal.

The Nets owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is doing what he told everyone he would do: the unexpected. Sure, there are other ex-players and coaching candidates who may be more deserving of the opportunity — but Kidd makes a ‘splash’ that the organization needs and its owner loves.

When he took over the team in May, 2010, Prokhorov promised a championship within five years. At the time, the promise seemed out of reach and it still does today.

But why not have Kidd running the team when that day comes? Since the Nets entered the NBA officially in 1976, no other person has gotten the franchise closer to a championship than him.

For an owner like Prokhorov and general manager Billy King, the risk wasn’t hiring Kidd — it would have been passing the ball to someone else.