Will Jason Kidd be able to coach his peers?
That is just not something that happens. There have been player-coaches in the NBA but not for a while. Some players have made a speedy transition to coaching, including Avery Johnson and Danny Ainge, but Kidd's immediate transition is unprecedented.
It reflects his unique place in NBA culture and history, but yesterday's blockbuster trade adds several elements to the Nets leadership hierarchy that may complicate things.
Before yesterday, Kidd was just a rookie head coach that the front office brought in to energize a team and fan base. Fast forward 24 hours and the Nets are being called a championship contender. Certainly the pressure to do well will increase but, more importantly, the state of the team's locker room moving forward is up in the air.
Kidd seemed perfectly suited for the pre-June 27th Nets team. He reportedly has a great relationship with Deron Williams and can mentor him. Under Kidd, Williams was expected to have more freedom to run plays and to dictate the offense. Besides Williams, Kidd could mentor a young center in Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson would be the team's go-to older dude.
Now they've added some huge names and an even bigger personality in Kevin Garnett.
I don't anticipate that Garnett will necessarily clash with Kidd, but it will take a while for them to figure out who's really in charge and having to make a slew of veterans happy will add a whole new challenge to Kidd's new job.
Kevin Garnett is 37 and Paul Pierce and Jason Terry are both 35. These are established guys that know how to win. All reports indicate that Kidd's relationships with these players are great; he's played against Garnett and Pierce forever and won a championship in Dallas with Terry. But the transition from the peer/teammate relationship to coach/player where the coach is supposed to be in charge could be rocky with veterans, even if they adore Kidd.
I anticipate that they'll get off to a great start. Pierce, Garnett, Terry, and Joe Johnson want to win and will work their tails off for Kidd, but when $@#% hits the fan and they struggle like every team does during a long season, they'll be looking to a peer for guidance rather than a coach.
Kidd may have a hard time adjusting to telling his peers what to do and where to be. He may have to discipline his former teammate or bench a guy who was a long-time division rival and fierce competitor. Personal relationships might come into play more than in your typical player-coach relationship.
I don't know Garnett, Pierce, Terry, Johnson, and Kidd personally, but they are all part of a fraternity. But now one is the fraternity president and I am curious to see how that changes the dynamics of the team.