---- — CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Former teammates, players and a former NBA assistant coach think the credibility a Hall of Fame career brings — and familiarity with today’s players — will help Jason Kidd successfully transition into coaching.
Kidd was named the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, less than two weeks after he ended a 19-year career as a point guard that included an NBA championship and two tours as a leader on the U.S. Olympic team. He’s also No. 2 in career assists and steals in NBA history.
“He’s going to have incredible credibility with his players, which is huge,” said Brendan Suhr, a longtime NBA assistant coach under Chuck Daly, Hubie Brown and Lenny Wilkens.
Even the accountability as the man in charge won’t be a problem, said Suhr, who is attending the National Basketball Players Association’s Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia and teaching players how to start coaching careers.
“He’ll be fine. He’s handled accountability before,” Suhr said, adding that one of Kidd’s main priorities needs to be hiring experienced assistants to “fill in the gaps that you don’t have.”
Denver point guard Andre Miller said he was initially surprised when he heard Kidd was in the running for the Nets’ job so soon after announcing his retirement, but the more he thought about, the more sense it seemed to make.
“When I first heard that they were considering it, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s respect,’” Miller said at the camp. “He’s a hall of famer in everybody’s mind and he’s accomplished everything that you can accomplish as a point guard, as a person, in life and as a teammate. When you have that type of respect of your peers, and of management, coaches, you know the sky’s the limit.
“You know that he knows how to play basketball and he knows what it takes, so it surprised me at first, but what better player to make that transition right away to show, ‘I can do this’ by the things that he’s done in his career.’ It’s good for the guys in that situation and learn from a guy like that.”
Miller’s Nuggets teammate Andre Igoudala tried that in a game against Kidd’s team.
“What made you throw that pass?” Igoudala said he once asked Kidd during a game. He said he also picked Kidd’s brain with a few questions when he and Kidd were panelists during a rookie transition program.
“It’s not as crazy to me as people are making it,” Igoudala said of the Nets’ hire. “You’re seeing how the game is changing ... teams are bring in GMs who haven’t played basketball. Analytical guys. Number crunchers. That’s kind of the trend.”