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How Jason Kidd's departure hurt the L.A. Lakers but benefited the Dallas Mavericks

Jason Kidd has proven himself for the Mavs

Jason Kidd has proven himself for the Mavs

Los Angeles Lakers fans knew it was a big deal to lose one of the greatest basketball minds in the world in Jason Kidd in the summer of 2021. However, they still had a lot of hope that Frank Vogel and his remaining crew could hold the fort even without Kidd on the sidelines. But past the midway mark of the season, it seems that Kidd's departure may have left an irreplaceable void in the Lakers' playbook. The fans' instincts were right.

Kidd, the defensive strategist

The Lakers are reeling on both ends of the floor in their first season without Kidd. On the contrary, the Dallas Mavericks have made strides with the legendary point guard guiding them. This is especially true in defense, as observed by Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. Kidd has admitted that he has picked up a thing or two from Vogel in his two-year stint in LA.

Previous reports reveal that Kidd indeed placed defense on top of his priority list. This was his vision for the Mavs when he became head coach. From the looks of it, this is a major lesson he learned from his stay with the Lakers. Defense wins championships, says the adage. And Kidd witnessed it with his own eyes how Vogel — known as a great defensive mind — guided the Lakers to the 2020 NBA Championship through prioritizing suffocating offenses.

In addition, let's not forget that Kidd was selected into the All-Defensive Teams multiple times during his playing days. The man knew how to play defense. But there's a significant difference between being on the hardcourt and standing along the sidelines. Safe to assume that Kidd's coaching experience finally taught him how to communicate his vision effectively and adequately to his players.

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And when you pair Kidd's newfound defensive instincts with Luka Doncic's inherent basketball genius, then you have a powerhouse tandem. There's no question the Mavs are the team to watch out for in the coming years.

Looking back at LeBron's reaction

Star forward LeBron James expressed his frustration on losing Kidd but congratulated him anyway for his new job. Perhaps the Lakers front office should have taken this as a stern warning of the things to come. When you have James — an equally great basketball mind — ranting on a loss of a coach, you have to pay attention.

Perhaps it was inevitable to lose Kidd. After you win a title, your stock value goes up. Let's not forget before becoming an assistant with the Lakers, Kidd had head coaching stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. It was only a matter of time before Kidd became a head coach once again.

The Lakers prepared for this by hiring David Fizdale and John Lucas III, so props to them. Obviously, these little tweaks have not been enough. Right now, it's one big puzzle why the Lakers are struggling so much. They seem to have a good coaching staff. Its roster is filled with experienced players, not to mention future Hall of Famers.

It's a problem Rob Pelinka and crew have been trying to solve all season long. There's a danger that the Purple and Gold might not even qualify for the postseason. Whatever the case may be, it's crystal clear that the Lakers were never the same again the moment Kidd departed.

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