It has been less than a month since the Milwaukee Bucks were crowned the 2021 NBA Champions. Giannis and the team had their parade and enjoyed the limelight for about a week until most of the spotlight shifted to Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bucks’ Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is about to take center stage of NBA news with the impending release of Giannis: The Improbably Rise of an NBA MVP by Mirin Faber.
The rise of Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA mountaintop certainly was not easy, as the Bucks were at one point a fifteen-win team, and the future of the franchise seemed bleak. Milwaukee then hired NBA Hall of Famer Jason Kidd to his first head coaching stint, and the Bucks went from being a bottom-dweller to winning forty-one games in Kidd’s first season at the helm. The 180-degree turnaround spearheaded by Kidd is what lit the fire in these young Bucks to pursue greatness, but apparently, this all came at a hefty price.
“His (Kidd) coaching style was described as ‘psychological warfare’ by a former Bucks player.”Jorge Sedano, via The Jump
One might think of this description as an exaggeration, but multiple reports on the topic past and present suggest that Kidd took some extreme measures to build a culture in Milwaukee. Apart from the severe damage Kidd’s approach did to former Bucks center Larry Sanders, the Hall of Fame player once made Zaza Pachulia and Jared Dudley decide whether or not the players deserved a break during Christmas. Both Dudley and Pachulia explained that Christmas was about being with their families, saying that they deserved the holiday and time had already been committed to their families. Dissatisfied with the answer, Kidd called for practice on Christmas, dismissing that the players planned to fly home to be with family and required them to be at practice the next day.
Kidd’s tactics did generate results, but such extreme measures naturally wore on some players, and after a few seasons, it was apparent that Kidd had reached his ceiling with the team. Giannis tried to save his job and get Kidd to return to Milwaukee despite his unusual methods, something I am sure his teammates were not too thrilled about initially. The Bucks are now the defending champions and became one of the best teams in the league after parting ways with Kidd. With Kidd joining a team looking to contend for a championship in Dallas, many wonder if Jason is now the right coach to take a playoff team over the hump after his controversial but mildly successful rebuilding job in Milwaukee.
“The question is whether or not Jason Kidd has learned from his time in Milwaukee.”Doris Burke, via The Jump
Doris is absolutely correct, as the Mavericks are not some team that is down in the dumps willing to listen to anyone who might help them improve. Dallas took the Los Angeles Clippers to seven games in last season’s playoffs; they have a guy in Luka Doncic who knows how to win and is unwilling to take s**t from anybody unless necessary for winning. Kidd’s questionable tactics did not make Milwaukee a force in the league, which is a title that Dallas aspires to attain. However, Kidd did win a championship on the staff of the 2020 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers while earning the respect of LeBron James. As Kidd steps back into a head coaching role, it remains to be seen which Kidd will lead Dallas; the degrading drill Sargeant in Milwaukee or the esteemed player’s coach that LeBron James grew to love in LA.