After playing one season for the New York Knicks, Jason Kidd announced his retirement last week, leaving two years and over six million dollars on the table. Now, it appears that Kidd desires to suit up in another way; as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Kidd is arguably the greatest Net to ever play for the franchise, and is most certainly that over the last decade. The then New Jersey Nets had the most success in franchise history when Kidd led the team to appearances in two-straight NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Though the Nets lost both series, it brought a level of respect to the franchise that it had been unable to attain in New Jersey.
Kidd as head coach of the franchise is an intriguing choice, especially for a franchise that has an owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who seems to thrive on big back-page signings in a way not dissimilar to great owner of the New York Yankees George Steinbrenner. Kidd is also credited with having a great basketball IQ, which is easy to see watching him on the court, even in his final season.
Former New York Knick guard and current Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers may have given him the best endorsement as a coach when he talked about Kidd’s mind making winning plays in an aging body. “He beats everyone with his brain.” Rivers elaborated. “If you think quicker than a guy can move, you’re still quicker. That’s why he’s there first, because he thought what the guy was going to do before he did it. He’s just a valuable guy to have on a basketball team.” High praise from one of the top coaches in the NBA, but how would that translate to coaching?
I have no doubt that, with the right seasoning as an assistant coach, Jason Kidd will become an NBA head coach. How good of a coach will he be? That is anyone’s guess, but to take that gamble would be risky, and nearly unheard of in the last 30 years of NBA basketball. Only Mike Dunleavy and former Nets coach Avery Johnson have become NBA coaches within a season of retiring in the last 30 years.
With that being said, Brian Shaw should be the choice for head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Shaw learned under one of the greatest head coaches of all time, Phil Jackson, not only as a player, but also as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently an assistant on the Indiana Pacers, arguably the best defensive team in the National Basketball Association, who eliminated the New York Knicks from the 2013 NBA Playoffs and took the defending NBA champion Miami Heat to seven games.
Shaw’s familiarity with the Triangle Offense that Phil Jackson employed with the Los Angeles Lakers, combined with his attention to defense, makes him highly qualified. In addition, the Triangle Offense seems to be a good fit for the Nets roster, with the nucleus of the team of center Brook Lopez, point guard Deron Williams, and shooting guard Joe Johnson.
With the NBA Draft later this month, the Nets will hopefully have a coach in place soon. Though Jason Kidd would grab more headlines if named the next coach of the Brooklyn Nets, would he provide more wins than Brian Shaw? I doubt it, which makes the choice of Shaw to be the next coach an easy one over Kidd.