John PaolantonioJason Kidd wants to change the identity of the Nets, and it’s music to my ears.
Despite the four seed and a Game 7 with the Bulls, the Nets’ offense was either predictable or downright unwatchable last season. But during his first presser on Tuesday, Kidd said he plans to change all of that, and thinks the newest members of the Nets can help with that process.
“I think it was just vanilla, and I think you guys can see after the trade with [Kevin] Garnett and [Paul] Pierce that it’s kind of changed,” Kidd told reporters. “So I think we’re doing the right thing with changing the identity. It was just…there was no flavor and no identity.”
In fairness to the 2012-13 club, it was hard for them to develop a signature style. Avery Johnson and his iso-heavy offense were pretty much run out of the town by the players, as he simply wasn’t willing to change his system to adapt to the talent he had. P.J. Carlesimo took over, but didn’t change much. Almost in spite of themselves, the Nets beat tough teams (4-0 against Indiana comes to mind), but, as we saw in crunch time, it’s very difficult to win against upper echelon clubs with a one-note offense.
As it currently stands, the Nets’ roster has much better options than an iso game, and that’s fine by me. It limits a player’s options, telegraphs their decisions, and leads to turnovers and forced shots. With Garnett and Brook Lopez, the Nets have the luxury of size and touch down low. It can be a lethal combination, especially if Deron Williams gets back to distributing the ball like he did in Utah. The options are endless for D-Will.
On the second unit, Andrei Kirilenko is a game changer, and that will help a bench that saw more “Iso Joe” with Joe Johnson than I care to remember. If Andray Blatche follows up with another big season and Kidd finds the right combination of Jason Terry and Mirza Teletovic, I think the Nets can finally make those third quarter slumps we grew so accustomed to last season a thing of the past.
As Kidd said earlier this offseason, it constantly looked like the Nets took their foot off the gas when they hit a certain point, and that’s the biggest element that will change. I don’t think you can emphasize enough how much Garnett and Pierce will change this team’s demeanor. These are two of most competitive players of their generation, and they know not to let teams off the mat. That may be the most important shift in team culture.
Kudos to Kidd for realizing that a change will be paramount to the Nets success. I’m ready to embrace it with open arms.