Pre-Game Q&A: Jason Kidd on His (Preseason) Coaching Debut
But unfortunately for Kidd (and fortunately for us writers and bloggers), there were more questions to be asked past mere training camp fodder. Just a few short months after his last game as a player for the New York Knicks, Kidd was thrust into the role of heading up not just a regular NBA team, but one that’s expected to compete for a title with the additions of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the nucleus of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.
No one asked Kidd about the biggest elephant in the room (being suspended for the first two games of the regular season due to a guilty DWI plea), but Kidd did address his adjustments from coach to player, the challenges of managing minutes for an old(er) team, and what would make his first preseason game a successful one.
On the role former Wizards guard (and current Nets guard) Shaun Livingston tonight:
Shaun will start, and we’ll go from there … we have it set up where he’s going to get a certain amount of minutes, and at some point he probably will get some looks with that second unit.
On how the preseason games will help him as a rookie coach:
Well, you learn very quickly. It all starts after shoot-around, you have a lot of time on your hands to go for a walk, so you have to create a walking buddy, but I walk by myself. So I’ll start recruiting someone to walk with me. But it’s a strategy and we have a plan, but we understand that plan can change, and being able to change on the fly with the guys that we have that have that basketball IQ, that definitely helps.
On the transformation from player to coach:
It’s not easy. It’s not an easy transition, it is learning everyday, and you’re going to make mistakes. Being able to understand and listen, not just to your staff but your players. That’s something as a player you just kind of dealt with the ball and the guy you’re trying to get it to.
On managing the minutes of older players, chemistry between old and new players, and his lack of head coaching experience:
I think for us, up to this point, there’s never been a young team that’s won a championship, and so hopefully as we have guys that come with a lot of wisdom can help us get there. Age I’m not worried about … we’re not built just for four or five guys, we got 15 guys that can play. But I think this past week being at Duke [University], getting away, we checked one box, and that was getting guys to become a family. Because when you look at the other teams in this league, they’ve been together.
On what he’s enjoyed most about coaching:
Did I already say I apologize to all the coaches I’ve had? But I think the beauty of this is trying to play this from a different seat—being a player on the floor or being in a uniform—and now being in a suit and trying to prepare, give my insight from what I’m seeing, and also what I felt has worked to try to get this guys to execute on the floor. This training camp, they’ve done everything I’ve asked.
On what whether a win would make his first [preseason] game a successful one:
Not the first one. The first one is about understanding what Nets basketball is all about, and executing and doing that starting tonight.
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