In his first year as an NBA head coach, it isn’t surprising that Jason Kidd will want to have an impact on the point guard position of the team he’ll now be running while wearing a suit on the sidelines.
Kidd, one of the game’s historically great point guards in his playing days, has set a goal to have double-digit assists generated from that position, which will directly impact the game of Nets point guard Deron Williams.
“I’m going to push him. I want the best for him,” Kidd said after signing autographs at the Nets’ merchandise store in Coney Island. “When we sit down and talk about goals, team goals and also individual goals, I’m going to push him and I want to get him back to double-digit assists.”
Williams hasn’t averaged at least 10 assists since 2010-11, which represented the fourth straight season he eclipsed that mark. Last season’s 7.7 assists per game was Williams’ lowest output since he was a rookie. And as the assist numbers dipped in the last two seasons, so did Williams’ shooting percentage.
But there was a tangible turning point, which Kidd referenced Sunday. After undergoing multiple procedures to his inflamed ankles during the All-Star break, Williams dropped about 15 pounds by changing his diet and exercise routine.
Williams is certainly capable of hitting that mark — he averaged better than 10 assists per game in four of his seasons with the Utah Jazz, and averaged a career-best 12.8 assists in his first 12 games as a member of the Nets in 2011.
Health is always the biggest factor in an All-Star player like Williams’ ability to put up numbers, but assuming he’s 100 percent next season and not bothered by the ankles, Kidd could tailor the offense to make it so that his point guard is looking to pass more than he is to score — especially with new weapons Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in place in the team’s starting lineup.