Quick, a show of hands of people who thought Nets rookie coach Jason Kidd would be on the unemployment line by now.
Don’t worry, we won’t hold anything you said about Kidd earlier this season against you, because there was a lot about this Nets team that was frustrating. Bad defense, a lack of ball movement on offense, tired legs, banged up bodies, etc., it was a perfect storm that contributed to a 10-21 start that could have sunk not only Kidd, but Nets General Manager Billy King as well.
The Nets reached .500 (29-29) for the first time since Nov. 5, following Monday’s impressive 96-80 win over the Bulls. The Nets hosted Memphis last night (Wednesday) with the hope of eclipsing the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Yes, New York City basketball fans, it was that bad for the Nets earlier this season.
A sense of urgency seems to have overtaken the Nets’ psyche in recent weeks, as the squad improved to 19-8 (11-2 at home) since the start of the New Year. Has Kidd changed his approach to the game? Other than going to a smaller lineup, with Paul Pierce playing power forward on Monday, he’s still the same coach that began the season on the sideline.
“It’s good that we got the win,” said Kidd. “I’m a big believer in an 82-game season that you don’t have a record. Being .500 is for you guys to write about. For us, it is to get better each time we take the floor.”
And what about Jason Collins? The Nets’ signing of the first openly gay male in professional sports made for big headlines. That message was apparently never delivered to Kidd, who didn’t insert his former teammate into the game until the 2:41 mark of the fourth quarter.
“I don’t listen to what people say,” Kidd said when asked if he was prompted by the crowd to put Collins in. “Hopefully they were happy.”
Spoken like a coach who is focused.