Kidd Leading the Herd
*Photo via Getty Images
A hundred years from now, when people go back and talk about great NBA players of the past century, Jason Kidd is likely to enter that conversation. Kidd’s career as a player stands out on its own amongst all point guards in the past twenty years. The numbers of his playing days draw strong comparison to Magic Johnson, who is widely considered the greatest point guard in history. Following his excellence as a player, it’s no surprise that Kidd is now a head coach in the NBA. His knowledge, versatility, personability and leadership make him a perfect candidate to be the first successful coach of the Milwaukee Bucks since George Karl.
Kidd’s gotten off to a great start, with young players like Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker having rejuvenated a Bucks roster that hasn’t been formidable in years. These young guns are now under the leadership of Jason Kidd, and the Bucks have the potential for order like a disciplined army. A tall point guard like Michael Carter-Williams will be guided by Kidd to run the offense in the style that he knows best. The rest of the team will learn to play as a team, such as all of Kidd’s teams did when he manned the point. Defensively, the Bucks cause nightmares for the opposition. The combination of length, size and quickness is something most teams really struggle with. The scariest part; the Bucks should only improve defensively under the tutelage of coach Kidd, whose defense is recognized in the history books as second all time in steals.
If you didn’t know the behind the scenes shenanigans of Kidd’s first year as head coach with the Brooklyn Nets, it may have been a surprise that the Nets let their head coach go. He led them to a winning season in his first year. Sure, the year was highlighted by an intentionally spilled cup of soda, but a winning season is a winning season. The Bucks sent over two second-round picks for the rights to Jason Kidd. Most of the known reason that he went over to the Bucks was to have more input in management decisions. Jason Kidd has deep aspirations to climb the “post-NBA-player-but-still-in-the-NBA” hierarchy, and to do that`, he needs to succeed as a head coach in Milwaukee.
*Photo via NBA
While new to coaching, Kidd has already silenced most of his doubters. In just two years, Kidd has established that he knows what he’s doing. The growth of ‘The Greek Alphabet’ is perhaps the most obvious. You can say that a second year player is bound to grow, but the results are undeniable. In just one year’s time, Antetokounmpo increased his averages by almost six points, more than two rebounds, almost two more free throw attempts, and went up .077 in field-goal-percentage in seven more minutes. Freaky.
Kidd is a special basketball mind that knows how to lead and how to teach. He fits in a lot better with a young Bucks roster than he did with a veteran Nets roster. The Bucks grew up watching him. The respect and admiration the Bucks have for Kidd would make them hungrier to learn, no? From one season to the next, the Bucks went up in steals by 45.8% and up in assists by 9.8%. No surprise, those are the two statistics that Jason Kidd places second on the all-time lists.
Kidd brought his metaphorical private jet away from the 15 wins the Bucks had in the 2013-14 season to 41 wins last season. Even though they got eliminated in the first round, it was enough to make the playoffs in the horrid Eastern Conference, and established the Bucks as a contender. This season, Kidd gains another year of coaching experience, a young star in the return of Jabari Parker, and the gets post bruiser Greg Monroe.
The potential that the Bucks have this year goes understated. Milwaukee has finally returned to Eastern Conference relevance and will make noise this postseason. It’s time to Fear the Dear.