Playing and coaching are two completely different things. More importantly, just because a coach is a former NBA superstar doesn’t mean he can impose his playing style on his players. And Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd is well aware of that.
Kidd knows his role
Despite being part of Frank Vogel’s coaching staff on the Los Angeles Lakers team that won the 2020 championship, Mavericks fans were skeptical about him taking the helm.
Regardless of what naysayers said, Kidd had an impressive debut season as the Mavs coach. He let Luka Doncic be Luka, and it wasn’t because the Slovenian is the face of the franchise. It’s just how Kidd does his thing as a coach.
“You can’t say, ‘This is the way I would do it,’ because everybody is different,” Kidd told FOX Sports. “You have to understand that and be all right with that. Some [former stars] can do it and some have a hard time doing it. My job is to help everyone recognize their strengths and put them in a position to be successful.”
A changed man
Kidd has led the Mavericks to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011. Under his tutelage, Dallas won 52 games, and it’s safe to say everything is looking good. But like some of his peers, J-Kidd also learned the trade, and it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
Kidd was immediately appointed as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets after calling it a career in 2013. At the time, reports said he didn’t see his players eye-to-eye and was described by some as harsh. However, the five-time assists champion quickly and consciously worked on improving himself. And if there’s someone who could attest to that, it’s Jared Dudley, the former NBA player who played under Kidd in Milwaukee and L.A. and is now his assistant coach in Dallas.
“Night and day. His demeanor has calmed down,” Dudley told FOX Sports of Kidd. “He trusts his assistants. He has learned from [former Lakers coach] Frank Vogel. His communication of being upset is different, like how he would get on guys if he lost his patience. He’s just more even-keeled, and he’s more confident in himself.”
Heading into his second year with the Mavs, Kidd is expected to pick up where he left off last season. But this time, with an aim to bring the championship back to Dallas.