Josh Newman, Field ReporterORLANDO – Just as the undrafted rookies and young players on the Nets’ entrant in the Orlando Summer League are learning on the fly this week, so is the Nets’ rookie head coach, Jason Kidd.
In his debut on the Nets’ bench Sunday evening in a 76-67 loss to the Pistons, Kidd spent some of his time observing and taking a back seat to lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank, who controlled timeout huddles on several occasions. That’s not to say Kidd didn’t make his presence felt, it was just felt more on the defensive end while Frank handled the offensive action.
That, and Kidd doesn’t seem like one to scream or jump off the bench at a blown call or blown assignment.
Yes, Kidd is very much a novice at this and late in the fourth quarter, he found out exactly what happens when you cross over to the wrong side of an official.
With the outcome still in doubt with 2:23 to play in the game, the Nets had reverted to fouling Andre Drummond in an attempt to continuously send him to the foul line. On this occasion, the officials missed the hack-a-Drummond and eventually called Toko Shengelia for a foul on Peyton Siva.
As Kidd crossed over half-court to question why the intended foul on Drummond wasn’t called, Kidd was hit with the rare summer league technical foul, to which he incredulously asked, ‘Are you serious?’
Khris Middleton hit the technical free throw and Siva hit both of his off the original foul to extend the Pistons lead to 69-62 at that point.
“We were trying to foul a player, and the referee missed it, so I tried to express to the referees what we were trying to do,” Kidd explained postgame. “It happens. They’re not perfect, we’re not perfect, so it’s a lesson learned and I know I cant go past halfcourt.
“He wasn’t even intense for that tech, he didn’t do anything for that tech,” second-year point guard Tyshawn Taylor joked. “He’s fighting for us, so we just gotta go to war for him.”
Highlighted by the technical, Kidd’s debut was a baptism by fire. Not everything went smoothly and the future Hall of Fame point guard is still finding his way, as he will likely be doing for the remaining four games in Orlando and even into training camp with a roster expected to contend in the Eastern Conference beginning Oct. 1 at PNY Center.
The encouraging sign for Kidd is that he said he didn’t have any nerves, nor did he look nervous on the sidelines. With the exception of Frank running huddles, Kidd did look the part on Sunday. That was not the case when this summer league unit opened a week of practice on Wednesday. That day, Kidd said there were some nerves that had to be dealt with before he felt at ease.
“When you’re in this arena, I’ve been in a lot of them, so this is old habit, there’s just that sense that I’m just not playing,” Kidd said. “I got excited, but as a coach, you have to stay even-keeled. Again, it’s a learning experience, this is summer school for me and so hopefully, I’m going in the right direction. I’m learning and as a coach, you’re going to learn everyday, both the good and bad. My job come training camp is to get settled with the guys we have on the team. I think every coach in this league learns everyday from the game.”
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA