Mark Jackson vs. Jason Kidd: Tale of Two Coaches
The Brooklyn Nets made a media headline splash when they hired the newly-retired point guard Jason Kidd to be their coach. But, he has not had the success in his rookie year that Mark Jackson did, who was a very well-respected guard in his playing days.
What gives? Why the big difference in records in their first year? Why did Mark Jackson do well when Jason Kidd did not?
First, Mark Jackson spent years as a NBA TV analyst for TNT. Compared to his playing days, he had a courtside vision similar to a head coach or an assistant and could dissect plays and teams as if he were a coach. He was my personal favorite alongside Steve Kerr and Jeff Van Gundy, and I really miss him as a NBA announcer. Here’s one example:
Mark Jackson had a vision for his team and worked with his general manager and owner to get his type of guys. Jarrett Jack, Steph Curry, David Lee Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, Carl Landry…those were the guys that Jackson wanted and molded into a Golden State Warriors team that made it into the second round of the playoffs last year.
Who was on Golden State before that? Andrins Biedrins, Louis Amundsen, Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams, pre-Linsanity Jeremy Lin, Acie Law, Victor Radmanovich, and Al Thornton (per Basketball-Reference.com). Yes, Curry and Lee were on the team before, but Jackson has used them and maximized their potential and output.
Jason Kidd never had that opportunity and never coached. Being a coach on the court as a player is different than being an actual head coach. He barely retired when the Nets hired him. Adding to that, Kidd was given high expectations in his first year as the coach of the Nets. Saddled with one of the most expensive rosters in recent history, which is definitely in the NBA luxury tax territory, Kidd had to win-now because his team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, said so. But, he did not have the luxury of putting together his team and forging an identity with the likes of an aged Kevin Garnett, old Paul Pierce, a big-shot-taking Joe Johnson, big ego Deron Williams and scoring post-man Brook Lopez.
Jason Kidd, overwhelmed as a new head coach in The Association, even coached the preseason summer league team for the Nets to get more coaching experience. Sorry Jason, that’s a good start, but you’re coaching your bench players. He should’ve let his assistants take care of the summer league.
Kidd’s Nets stand at one of the worst records of 3-9, dead last in their division. In Jackson’s rookie year, his Warriors were 4th of 5 teams in the Pacific Division at 23-43, but have improved since then because of retooling his roster the way he wanted to.