Handled By Kidd Gloves, Bucks Doing Just FineAdded - Nov. 30, 2014 - Comments
One of the big stories in the off-season was obviously the return of the great Lebron James to Cleveland, which made the Cavaliers immediate favorites to win the championship according to the NBA betting odds. But for pure gossip, there was nothing that could beat the back story behind Jason Kidd's departure from the Brooklyn Nets.
Kidd went right from the playing ranks to the position of a head coach, and he was a controversial choice on the part of Nets management. It got even more controversial after his team got off to a horrible start, winning just ten of its first 32 games. Along the way Kidd also fired the man who he had personally recruited as his right-hand assistant, Lawrence Frank, who had also coached him when the Nets were in New Jersey. Apparently Frank was being sought out for advice and counsel by the veteran players much more than the first-year coach was, and it's hard to maintain authority if that happens. Yes, there was turbulence, but Kidd got the ship going in the right direction, and he did so by employing a very small lineup that had Kevin Garnett at center and Paul Pierce at the power forward position. Brooklyn got to the playoffs and beat Toronto in the first round, before finally losing to the Miami Heat. After the season Kidd reportedly did something highly unexpected, which was to launch a power play of sorts and go over the head of the team's general manager, Billy King, in an attempt to seize control over all the basketball operations.
He was rebuffed, and most folks who were looking at the situation came to the conclusion that he already had that kind of a job waiting for him with the Milwaukee Bucks. So as Kidd was fired for his audacity, he was back in business the next day.
Milwaukee emerged victorious in just 15 games last season, and the general perception was that this team was a disaster area, well short of having the kind of personnel that could make them a serious playoff threat, even in the relatively-weak Eastern Conference. But unbelievably, those critics were wrong, as Milwaukee split its first 20 games of the season, where it sits in the #6 position in the East, just a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have created their own "Big Three," and dead even with the Miami Heat, last year's East champions. Oh by the way, with their 10-10 record, Milwaukee is also a half-game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets (with an overtime victory over the Nets), which must please Kidd to no end.
This is a team that is decidedly devoid of superstars. Point guard Brandon Knight is leading the way in developing quickly, with an assist-turnover ratio of better than 3-to-1. And rookie Jabari Parker, who spent a year lighting up the ACC at Duke, is the team's second-leading scorer. At this moment, it looks like Jason Kidd has an inside track on the NBA's coach of the year award.