As Deron Williams returns to the starting lineup tonight for the Brooklyn Nets against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday after missing the last two games with a sprained ankle, he hopes to be the spark to ignite the team’s fire this season after sluggish start to the season that has been plagued with injuries.
Brook Lopez could be a step closer to reclaiming his starting role too after also being hobbled by a sprained ankle, and while Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko (back) and Jason Terry (knee) did not practice on Tuesday, talking heads around the league are waiting to see what this squad can do once at full-strength.
Until then, Jason Kidd will continue to have fingers pointed at him.
The title contending blueprint that was drawn up this offseason in Brooklyn has only resulted in a 3-7 start and the Nets going 1-5 over their last six games.
Although the injuries are out of the organizations control, going with a rookie head coach who was fresh from retiring from playing is one topic that is not going away any time soon. Howard Beck of Bleacher Report spoke to one veteran scout regarding Kidd’s coaching ability. There was no way to sugar coat it.
“He doesn’t do anything,” said the scout, who has watched the Nets several times. “He doesn’t make calls. John Welch does all the offense. Lawrence does all the defense. … I don’t know what Kidd does. I don’t think you can grade him and say he’s bad. You can give him an incomplete.”
You have to peg Kidd as the front-runner to be one of the coaches on the hot seat around the NBA (already selected as the worst head coach in the league?). Knowing he has part ownership in the team may buy him a little time, but let's face the facts here: this team is not get any younger, injuries persist over the stretch of the long 82-game season, and hitting the panic button may not be in the too distant future.
There is not doubt that Kidd will go down in basketball history as one of the best point guards in the game. But that does not qualify him to make an easy transition into the head coaching ranks, particularly knowing there are seasoned assistants still waiting to get their turn at running their own team (insert Patrick Ewing here).
The only thing at this point that can help take some heat off of Kidd is for the Nets to string together some wins. No easy feat knowing Brooklyn plays five road games over the course of their next seven games. Getting players healthy and back on the floor will certainly help and maybe then team chemistry will be part of the remedy as well.
"We've got to turn it around, fast. We've dug ourselves a bit of a hole and now it's time to fight out of it. We've played good in stretches but we haven't put together 48 minutes of great basketball consistently, so that's what we have to try to do,” said Deron Williams on Tuesday.
Until then, Jason Kidd will continue to get an early education about head coaching 101 and steady flack for Brooklyn’s poor start.