The Nets are off to a 1-1 start to the season, after losing in Cleveland on opening night and then taking down the defending champion Heat at home on Friday.
Both games were played without Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd patrolling the sidelines, as he served a league-mandated two-game suspension for a DWI conviction over the summer.
With that behind him, Kidd is set to make his coaching debut on Sunday when his team travels to Orlando to face the Magic.
“He can make his debut finally,” Deron Williams said with a smile after the Nets’ 101-100 victory over the two-time defending champion Heat Friday night in Brooklyn.
After serving a two-game suspension for pleading guilty to driving while ability impaired, Kidd will take the reins from assistant Joe Prunty, who served as acting head coach in Kidd’s absence.
“Definitely,” Williams said when asked if Kidd’s return meant things would return to normal for the Nets. “But I think our coaching staff did a great job of filling in for him. They’re going to be there no matter what. They did a great job, especially [Friday night]. … They made a lot of adjustments out there and did a really good job.”
Williams’ comments are of interest because the assistant coaches on Kidd’s staff will have as much to say about the team’s success from a coaching standpoint as Kidd will in his first season in charge.
No one questions Kidd’s basketball IQ, after playing 19 seasons and putting together a career that’s almost certainly going to land him in the Hall of Fame.
But managing egos, being the one responsible for doling out playing time, and making key adjustments throughout a game or a series in the playoffs are all going to be challenges in this first season — even for someone as tenured as Kidd who has been around the professional game for so long.