Jeff Van Gundy on Jason Kidd’s Coaching Potential: “There is no way to predict such a thing”


Josh Newman,

It is unknown just how serious the Nets are regarding Jason Kidd and their still-vacant head coaching position, but  the situation is far enough along that he has reportedly been added to the list of candidates with a meeting with General Manager Billy King having taken place on Monday.


Everyone seems to have an opinion on how well Kidd would fare as a head coach given his obvious lack of experience. The 19-year, Hall of Fame-bound point guard retired from the NBA on June 3 after one season with the Knicks.

While the debate on whether or not Kidd is the move rages on, at least one respected ex-head coach doesn’t believe we can gauge how good or bad Kidd will be.

“There is no way to predict such a thing,” ESPN/ABC analyst and former Knicks and Houston Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy told via text message when asked if he thought Kidd would make a good coach despite the obvious lack of experience. “He has a high basketball IQ, but we will see how it translates.”

Kidd retired from the game second all-time in assists and steals, while regarded as one of the best floor generals to ever play the game. His career numbers will put him in Springfield, presumably in his first year of eligibility, but as history will show, that does not always equate to coaching success.

Isiah Thomas (187-223), Magic Johnson (5-11) and Mark Jackson (70-78) are three examples of highly-accomplished players not finding similar success as head coaches. Jackson’s mark is a tad misleading given he went 47-35 this past season with a strong, young, Steph Curry-led nucleus with the Golden State Warriors.

Conversely, Larry Bird flourished as a head coach, going 147-67 in three seasons with the Indiana Pacers. He steered the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1998 and 1999 before advancing to the NBA Finals in 2000 where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. That 1998 season was ended by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Those are just a few examples, but as Van Gundy noted, there is just no way of knowing which way it will go.

That notion would hold true no matter if Kidd had a strong staff beside him or not. The belief among many since Kidd’s initial interest was reported on Sunday afternoon is that in order to make up for his lack of coaching experience, he will need a very strong stable of assistant coaches.

“He’ll need that no more so than for any other coach,” Van Gundy said. “It’s vital.”

While Kidd’s meeting with King in the books, Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw is reportedly set to meet with King on Wednesday in New York City. Shaw, who has the endorsement of Pacers President Donnie Walsh, is thought to be King’s No. 1 choice as he has reportedly done an inordinate amount of research on the 15-year NBA veteran and Phil Jackson coaching disciple.

Josh Newman is’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