Jason Kidd is making a third return to the Dallas Mavericks, but this time he’s coaching.
The former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach finalized negotiations with the Mavs making him the successor to Rick Carlisle, who the Indiana Pacers hired on Thursday morning.
Kidd’s storied NBA career featured two stints with the Dallas Mavericks. The organization drafted him with the second overall pick in 1994. However, after two seasons, Dallas traded him to the Phoenix Suns. The prodigal son returned in 2008 via a trade, and in 2011 he helped guide the Mavs to the organization’s lone NBA Championship over the Miami Heat.
The Mavericks hope that Kidd helps guide them to contention while also establishing a connection with Luka Doncic that yields mutual benefits.
Kidd’s coaching history:
Kidd’s first head coaching job came with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2013-14 season. He coached the Nets to a 44-38 record and a playoff series win over the Toronto Raptors.
He was the 19th rookie head coach in the league’s history to coach his team in a decisive Game 7 on the road and became the first one to win it.
In 2014, the Milwaukee Bucks secured the rights of Kidd’s coaching contract. Under Kidd’s first season as the head coach, the Bucks finished 41-41. A far cry from the 15-win season they suffered through in 2013.
The Bucks made the playoffs as a sixth seed despite losing forward Jabari Parker to season-ending knee surgery in December of 2014. And Kidd became the first coach in NBA history to lead two franchises to the playoffs in his first two years as a head coach.
Kidd’s run in Milwaukee ended midway through the 2017-18 season, after back-to-back average seasons and a slow start to that 2017-18 year.
From there, Kidd went on to join the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant in 2019. And he won an NBA Championship with the organization in 2020.
In total, Kidd has a 183-190 head coaching record. In the playoffs, he is 9-15.
Kidd’s coaching style:
Kidd is a trademark players coach.
He’s garnered praise from Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James – two star players he’s coached during his career.
Antetokounmpo was ready to fight for Kidd’s job when the Bucks fired him during the 2017-18 NBA seasons. And James stated that Kidd was his “Basketball IQ equal” during his tenure with the Lakers. Both players don’t hand out praise easily, indicating that Kidd is a coach that garners belief from the star players.
Kidd’s skills include development and offensive creativity. He was the leading push to put Antetokounmpo at point guard, helping the young star develop his playmaking skills. He also maximized both the Bucks and Nets’ rosters, getting them to the playoffs prior to when many expected each franchise to be there.
“He’s a big part of my success in the league,” Antetokounmpo told NBA.com about Kidd after coaching change. “I’m loyal to the people I work with. I love him as a person. I care about him as a person.”
Kidd’s fit with the Mavs:
Kidd’s push to coach in Dallas was spearheaded by the vice president of basketball operations Michael Finley and special advisor Dirk Nowitzki. The move was also signed off on by the new executive in the organization, Nico Harrison.
With a front office that believes in him, it’s assumed that Kidd will be both comfortable and confident in Dallas. However, the pressure is on for him to cultivate a healthy and working relationship with Doncic.
That will be the key to Kidd’s success in Dallas. Rick Carlisle was unable to reach Doncic as well as he’d hoped. If Kidd can, the sky is the limit for the 22-year old and this team.
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Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.