Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets are taking embarrassment to whole new levels and sadly, the primary cause of this mortification is the leader of the team, head coach Jason Kidd.
If Kidd isn't the best point guard you've seen in your life, he's in the top five. That has nothing at all to do with the debacle he's plagued upon the Brooklyn Nets, but it was just a reminder that no matter what has happened in the past, nothing translates you into being a good head coach.
Let's remember a few things for the moment about the state of the Nets.
The Nets have been crippled by injuries. That is a fact, not an excuse. However, go find teams that could succeed when the best player (Deron Williams) barely can lace up his sneakers. Or when the team's next best player, or 1A (Brook Lopez), missed multiple games. Or when the team's third best player (Paul Pierce) is in a suit on the sidelines.
That's a lot to overcome not to mention two critical bench veterans - Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko - are nowhere to be found.
But what's humiliating the Nets isn't just the on-court product. That's terrible and more on that later, it's that Kidd is causing the Nets unnecessary shame by actions unbecoming a head coach.
The soda spilling incident could be construed as shrewd or clever, but it's bush-league. Manage the game better so you can take a timeout if you need one. That didn't affect a play like Mike Tomlin's actions did in the Pittsburgh Steelers/Baltimore Ravens game, but it disrespects the game to pull a stunt for your advantage.
Kidd knew what he was doing. You can see tape clearly shows him saying "hit me" to Tyshawn Taylor. It was a premeditated action to circumvent the rules. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I'm with Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni who told the Los Angeles Times, "I don't think that's very savvy or cool."
Kidd owned up to it and acknowledged it was something "I probably shouldn't have done."
Next up was the messy divorce with his top lieutenant.
There's more to the Lawrence Frank mess than the public will ever find out. Reports indicated a few things: first, Kidd was the one who wanted Frank to be his assistant in the first place. It seemed like a great fit since the two were effective as player/coach with the Nets. Kidd was two weeks into his retirement and needed some veteran stewardship. Frank appeared to fit that bill.
Second, friction arose between the two.
And now Frank has been reassigned within the organization. He'll be filing daily reports and isn't going to be at practices or on the bench for games. Essentially, Frank is doing what I do, but he's got a six-year, $6 million contract, while I have credit-card debt.
"I have to do what's best for the brand, and that's what I had to do," Kidd said in a TNT interview that aired during the Thursday night game against the New York Knicks.
While the notion that Kidd's main objective in this role is to protect the Nets "brand," considering his actions with the soda and ensuing $50,000 fine, head coaches can, and should, remove assistants if that is what the coach decides is best.
In demoting Frank, Kidd took the easy way out. Frank could be the world's biggest pain in the you know where, but are the Nets better equipped to win without him? He was in charge of the defense that is 29th in the league, but Kidd's treatment is an indication that he may not work through personal issues no matter how large the problem or the person's importance to the organization.
What smart assistant will want to work with Kidd now that he has jettisoned his top aide less than 20 games into a season?
The other effect of the Frank move is that Kidd has now put all of the coaching woes on himself. It's noble, for sure, but misguided because the Nets are a massive disaster and apparently, changes have been made since Frank's departure.
"We have a new system," Kevin Garnett said after the 30-point Knicks loss. "We're changing things on the fly. Jason's putting in a lot of new stuff since Lawrence left."
Never was it more evident than Thursday night, for that night might have been the most appalling in this season of horror for Brooklyn.
Kidd can implement all the new systems he wants. He can become the sole voice heard and put all of the Nets problems on himself, but he failed the first rule of coaching against the Knicks.
His team was not ready to play.
The Nets were only down seven at the half, but lost the third quarter, and most of the fan base, 34-16. The final was 113-83 as Kidd must not have made the proper adjustments at half.
Let's gloss past how inexcusable it was not to be amped to play your blood rivals, at home, on TNT on a Thursday night and work toward on-court problems.
The Knicks average 94.0 ppg (24th in the league), 42.9 percent field-goal shooting (26th) and 33.9 percent 3-point shooting (22nd). The Nets "held" them to 113 points on 57 percent from the floor and 59.3 percent from long range.
Offensively, Brooklyn ranks 23rd in scoring and that shouldn't be too large a problem with Lopez and Joe Johnson and Garnett on the floor. Their offensive sets have the motion of a Buick Skylark buried in a pit of mud and sand. Against the Nets, the offense relied almost exclusively on Johnson taking 11 dribbles, then pulling up for a jump shot. Lopez got the ball on the post sometimes, but was also out by the 3-point line as well.
The Nets are not just a bad NBA team, they've deteriorated into a joke. Just ask Charles Barkley, who astutely, and hilariously, pointed out that the Nets have no first-round draft picks in the future, so a rebuild is almost impossible for an old and bad team.
Kidd has to get it together. In the Eastern Conference, any team is a six-game winning streak away from hosting a playoff series. There is still time for the Nets, but Kidd has to start steering them properly.
Give them until Williams, Pierce, Terry and Kirilenko return, but until then, Kidd's learning curve is shrinking. This roster was put together for this season, and hindsight is showing it was constructed poorly.
But there's more than enough talent to win the pathetic Atlantic Division. To do so, Kidd has to take charge and lead. Exactly like he did in his Hall of Fame playing career.
- Barkley was brilliant in the broadcast booth with Marv Albert and Steve Kerr on Thursday. He is perfect in a bad game because his riffing when analysis isn't needed makes time fly. Can we put him on pregame, then call the game like Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN?
- Speaking of embarrassments, the Mexico City game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs, which neither team really wanted to play in Mexico, was postponed because a generator exploded and filled the arena with smoke. Think Pop did it?
- Knicks fans shouldn't go bonkers and think the season has turned because they beat the Nets.
- Andrea Bargnani getting ejected for taunting Kevin Garnett is laughable. If Garnett got tossed for taunting every time he did it, he wouldn't have had a career.
- Derrick Rose is going to play in the playoffs if he can, but didn't play in the playoffs last season when Kirk Hinrich was hurt and Nate Robinson was puking and Rose was medically cleared?
- The Chicago Bulls 20-point win over the Heat shows why I think they'll still finish third in the East. Luol Deng is an All-Star, Tom Thibodeau is a genius and the Bulls defend. That, plus the East is a sick, twisted joke.
- Movie moment - "Anchorman 2" will be a big hit and I love the marketing campaign of putting Will Ferrell anywhere so long as he's Ron Burgundy. Over saturation can be bad, but not with Burgundy.
- TV moment - When did "first-half season-finale" become a thing? That flows against logic. Are there now two seasons within the season? "The Blacklist" confused me. Also, Red confuses me on the show.