Jason Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets new coach, and Deron Williams, the franchise point guard, had talked about playing together in either Brooklyn or Dallas this past season, but it wasn’t to be.
Kidd, a future Hall of Fame point guard, ended up playing with the Knicks. Then, he retired after 19 seasons.
But now, the two friends will finally getting a chance to work together since winning a gold medal with Team USA in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. But this time they’re a different kind of teammates — coach and player.
“[When I played] I felt like I was an extension of the coach,” said Kidd. “Now I look to Deron to be the guy to execute the game plan and I think that we can win.”
During his introductory press conference at the Barclays Center June 13, Kidd referred often to Williams.
“It starts with your leader,” Kidd said. “That’s your best player, and he’s the one who is going to relay the message.”
But, in the end, it’s the relationship between the player and coach that determines how well a team jells. And the close relationship these two men have makes the choice to hire Kidd without any coaching experience much less of a risk. Because anytime you can get your franchise player 100 percent on board, good things usually happen.
“He’ll make a great coach,” Williams said. “I’m eager to learn from him and take direction from him.”
Unlike the methodical approach that got the Nets as far as the first round of the playoffs last season, Kidd wants to play up-tempo, and preach defense and ball movement.
There will be a learning curve for all involved, but I believe in time there will be consistent success. Nets’ ownership and fans just need to be patient.
Together, Kidd and Williams will shape their immediate and long-term futures. Failure means both won’t be in Brooklyn very long. Williams can opt out of his contract after three more seasons, the same time Kidd’s guaranteed deal ends.
Success could mean owning a city that has long belonged to the Knicks. And if they do succeed, they could end up changing the perception of the Nets franchise once and for all.Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk