Here we are, mid-August, and the Nets look like contenders again! Before the move to Brooklyn, it was a while before I was able to say that. The Nets made many moves this off-season, maybe the biggest one being the trade that brought both Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. This trade quickly made the Nets starting lineup a quite frightening one to say the least for opponents. The projected starting lineup come October will look like this:
PG - Deron Williams
SG - Joe Johnson
SF - Paul Pierce
PF - Kevin Garnett
C - Brook Lopez
Yeah, that's scary. There are All-Stars in every position for the Nets. As if the Nets starting lineup wasn't enough, they also added a great depth to their bench. The Nets brought in players such as Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, and drafted Rookie, Mason Plumlee as well as retaining both Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche. This Nets team is looking like a serious contender to win the NBA Championship with this roster.
However, take a look at the first sentence of this post and look at how I said this team LOOKS like a contender instead of saying they ARE a contender. This leads to the point of my post. This offseason, the team also brought in a Nets legend to be behind the bench, and that's Jason Kidd. Kidd, retired last season after a superb 19 year career in the NBA. However, will his experience as a player automatically transfer into success as a head coach? To be honest, I was a bit weary when the news broke out that the Nets had named Jason Kidd as their new head coach. It seemed too surreal for me. The only benefit in my eyes was that this would be benefit Deron Williams as Kidd would mentor him.
However, the more I thought about it, the more this move intrigued me. I started to see Kidd as a "players coach" meaning that he would be able to relate to the players in the locker room just like the days he was in an NBA uniform himself. This is why I've labeled Jason Kidd as the X-Factor for the 2013-2014 Brooklyn Nets.
There is absolutely no doubt that Kidd has the talent to make this team contenders rather than look like it. I believe that coaching is one of the most underrated aspects in the game today. Many people believe that if you have the players to win a championship, then that's enough and forget the coaching aspect to it. However, wasn't the lack of coaching what led to the demise of last season's LA Lakers? Mike D'Antoni was never able to control players like Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, or handle egos like Dwight Howard's. It went to show everyone that coaching is a vital aspect in leading a team to a championship. It's important for a coach to be able to handle the egos in the locker room, to rest his players well, and to write up a game plan that will lead his team to success. It's more than just spending millions of dollars on the biggest names in the Free Agent market.
Now, we find ourselves in a similar position. A very talented roster, with a coach, well who is just beginning his coaching career, and has already handed some pretty big expectations. Kidd will have to learn how to deal with all the aspects that not only make a good head coach, but a great one!
Jason Kidd is the X-Factor because his transition into coaching will dictate how this team performs next season. If Kidd can transition smoothly into his coaching role, then this team will live up to the hype of being competitive next season, but the small window is still open that he may not be able to handle the expectations in Brooklyn. We all know what these players can do. They're extremely talented and when coached correctly, can become even better.
Kidd is back to calling plays, but not at the point, but from behind the bench instead. Kidd will have the opportunity to not only make this team good, but great! We'll have to wait until the season gets underway, however. Man, I haven't been this excited for the Nets in a while. It's a new era in Brooklyn!